Netanyahu calls on Arab states to amend Arab Peace Initiative

PM calls on Arab states to amend and revise 2002 Arab Peace Initiative

Netanyahu at Sunday cabinet meeting (Eli Mandelbaum)

During his weekly cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Netanyahu reemphasized that Israel would be willing to accept the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative for resumption of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority only if relevant amendments and revisions were made.

He stated that “If the Arab states understand that they need to amend the Arab Peace Initiative in line with the changes that Israel demands, then we will have something to discuss. But if they bring the proposal from 2002 and define it as ‘take it or leave it’ – we’ll choose to leave it.”

The Arab Peace Initiative was proposed by Saudi Arabia to the Arab League in 2002. The proposal called for Israel’s complete withdrawal from the West Bank as per 1967 borders, withdrawal from Gaza Strip, as well as designation of east Jerusalem as capital of a Palestinian state. In return, Arab nations would recognize the State of Israel and implement diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu first expressed support for a revised, Arab effort for resumption of peace talks at the end of May during the appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s defense minister. He stated “I remain committed to making peace with the Palestinians and with all our neighbors. The Arab peace initiative includes positive elements that can help revive constructive negotiations with the Palestinians. We are willing to negotiate with the Arab states revisions to that initiative so that it reflects the dramatic changes in the region since 2002 but maintains the agreed goal of two states for two peoples.”