President-elect Barack Obama is planning to base his peacemaking efforts in the Middle East on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The Arab Peace Initiative, based on the Saudi peace plan of February 2002, calls for a full Israeli withdrawal from all territories taken in the Six Day War, including east Jerusalem, in exchange for normalizing ties with the Arab world. This plan would take Israel back to its 1967 borders.
Obama’s advisers feel that the time is right for such a deal as Arab countries fear rising radical Islamic movements and a potentially nuclear Iran. They have reportedly told Obama he shouldn’t lose time and must begin pushing his policies within his first year in office while he still enjoys maximum goodwill.
Under the plan:
- → Israel would be able to veto the return of Arab refugees expelled in 1948.
- → Israel would restore the Golan Heights to Syria.
- → Palestinians would be allowed to establish a state capital in east Jerusalem.
According to a senior adviser, Obama has said privately that Israel would be “crazy” to reject such a plan, since it would “give them peace with the Muslim world.”
Each time that Israel has given up land, it hoped for greater peace. This has yet to happen. Will this plan to take the country back to its 1967 borders, be the magic maneuver?
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