First Published: 2007-03-01

Israeli FM rejects Arab peace initiative

Livni says Israel can not accept current Arab peace initiative, wants plan to exclude Palestinian refugees’ rights.


Middle East Online

Rejecting refugees’ rights and Palestine’s UN partition borders

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said the Jewish state can not accept an Arab peace initiative as it stands, according to an interview published in a Palestinian daily on Thursday.

She told Al-Ayyam newspaper that Arab countries had introduced new clauses to the Saudi peace initiative on the fate of Palestinian refugees making it "impossible to accept in its current form".

Under the plan, adopted by the Arab League at a summit in 2002, the Arab world would normalise ties with Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal from Arab land occupied since 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

"The idea of establishing full diplomatic relations between Israel and the Arab countries is part of our ambitions... I think we have a common objective and that our differences are lessening," Livni said.

"The Saudi initiative was initially a positive sign but since the hardliners in Beirut added points going against a solution based on two states, it has become unacceptable to us in its current form," she added.

Other than the refugee issue, which the Arab plan wants solved based on UN Resolution 194 giving all Palestinian refugees the right to return and which Israel rejects, Livni cited the borders of a future Palestinian state as another point of contention.

"The borders should be discussed in the framework of future negotiations because a Palestinian state did not exist in 1967, nor were the West Bank and the Gaza Strip connected, the first was part of Jordan and the second, Egypt.

"Therefore the dream of returning to the 1967 borders should not be considered the vision of a viable Palestinian state. That should be subject to negotiations," she said.


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