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Arab League rejects any modifications to 2002 Arab Peace Initiative

June 4, 2016 9:07 P.M. (Updated: June 17, 2016 10:00 A.M.)
CAIRO (Ma’an) -- Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil al-Arabi said Saturday that the group would reject any amendments to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative (API).

Al-Arabi said in a statement that he made clear in his speech on Friday at the international summit held in Paris to support the French-led peace initiative that the Arab League would not accept any modifications to the API.

Al-Arabi added that the the French-led multilateral peace conference expected to be held until the end of the year should seek “a compromise to end the [Palestinian-Israeli conflict] rather than continuing to manage the conflict by launching a new round of pointless negotiations which have been ongoing for the last 25 years.”

“To achieve this goal, save the two-state solution, and establish an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the Paris peace conference needs to adopt an international work mechanism within a limited time frame which can implement the commitments that both sides agree on,” al-Arabi said.

Al-Arabi highlighted that related international resolutions -- especially Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 which refer to Israel’s complete withdrawal to 1967 lines -- should serve as a basis for peace talks.

Al-Arabi’s statements come just two weeks after representatives of the Arab States conveyed to Israel their willingness to discuss mending the API for renewing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The international summit to garner support and set the framework for the upcoming French-led peace conference began on Friday, with representatives of nearly 30 countries, including representatives from the the United Nations, European Union, and the Arab League attending.

Israel has continued to reiterate its rejection to the French-led peace initiative, with Director-General of Israel’s Foreign Ministry Dore Gold suggesting Friday that the conference represented a form of colonialism, while reiterating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sentiments that only direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) would be supported by Israel.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority has expressed support for the French initiative, and in April shelved the submission of a new anti-settlement resolution to the UN out of fear that doing so could thwart progress of new French proposals.

Newly-appointed Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman and Netanyahu recently issued a joint statement in support of reviving the API for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

Netanyahu and Lieberman also reiterated support for Egyptian President Abd al-Fattah al-Sisi's initiative, and threw their support behind the two-state solution.

All past efforts towards peace negotiations have failed to end the decades-long Israeli military occupation or bring Palestinians closer to an independent contiguous state.

The most recent spate of negotiations led by the US collapsed in April 2014.

Israel claimed the process failed because the Palestinians refused to accept a US framework document outlining the way forward, while Palestinians pointed to Israel's ongoing settlement building and the government's refusal to release veteran prisoners.

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