Arab League Ministers Discuss Israel-PA Peace
An Arab ministerial committee met on Monday in Qatar to discuss ways to revive the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and plans to send a mission to Washington, the Arab League chief said, according to AFP.
"This meeting was to discuss the mission of the Arab delegation that will visit Washington on April 29," the organization’s secretary general, Nabil al-Arabi, told reporters.
The talks of the Arab Peace Initiative Committee were attended by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and chaired by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, reported AFP.
Arabi said before the meeting that the delegation would go to the UN Security Council in New York. It is not clear if the delegation will still visit the UN headquarters.
The proposal to send a delegation to New York was agreed at an Arab summit held in Doha last month.
The PA’s foreign minister Riyad al-Malki told AFP that the delegation being sent to Washington would meet U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.
The team will include the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, as well as the Arab League chief, he said.
Reports on Monday indicated that Kerry intends to bring back to life the 2002 Arab peace initiative, which offers diplomatic recognition of Israel in
return for its complete withdrawal from Judea and Samaria and a resolution of the "Palestinian refugee" issue.
Abbas told visiting Kerry on Sunday that Israel should freeze construction in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and release terrorist prisoners, especially those arrested before the 1993 Oslo Accords, before any resumption of peace talks.
Kerry said in Israel on Monday that he was focused on a "quiet strategy" to breathe new life into the peace process, but he would not be rushed.
Abbas also wants Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to present a map of the borders of a future Palestinian state before talks can resume, according to a report last week, but a top political official told the Maariv daily newspaper this was out of the question.
On Sunday, reports in the PA media said that Kerry had offered Abbas incentives to return to the negotiating table at Israel’s expense.
PA officials who spoke to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency said Kerry had offered to release all PA tax funds and to ensure Israel does not withhold the PA’s tax revenue in the future.
Washington's top diplomat also reportedly offered to extend the Palestinian Authority's jurisdiction, particularly in Area C, the area of Judea and Samaria which is under full Israeli control, according to Ma’an.