Liberal Grace

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Arabs offer peace to Israel. Will Bush even notice?

The Bush administration needs to seize this moment and make the most of it. I suppose that's a futile wish.

I heard an American radio report on this summit and they didn't even mention the peace offer. I suppose with all the horrible news and the parade of scandals in the news, it would be easy to this encouraging news item.

It should also be noted that this is the kind of opportunity that a competent, engaged presidency would run with.

Arab leaders to relaunch peace offer to Israel

By Wafa Amr Wed Mar 28, 6:32 PM ET

RIYADH (Reuters) - Arab leaders will formally relaunch a five-year-old initiative on Thursday to trade peace for land and end the Arab-Israeli conflict which is at the heart of the region's problems.

A summit, which began on Wednesday, has drawn several world and Muslim leaders who backed the Arab peace plan offering Israel normal ties with all Arab countries in return for its withdrawal from land occupied in the 1967 Middle East war.

"The Arab peace initiative is one of the pillars for the peace process ... This initiative sends a signal that the Arabs are serious about achieving peace," U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon told Arab leaders on Wednesday, according to an Arabic translation.
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I've believed for decades that peace with Israel must come out of an initiative from the Arabs. Basically, the Arabs have to accept that the Jews have a country in "their" region. And they have to accept this on their own; bribing them, coercing them, threatening them is not a lasting solution.

Of course Israelis -- especially the conservatives -- also have to accept that they share a country with Muslims and Christians.

You can be sure, many people -- especially conservatives -- will find problems with the Arab peace offer. And some will be valid points. But but lets appreciate that there is an offer on the table and it's coming from the Arabs. This is an essential first step to lasting peace and should be affirmed.

Is there any hope that Rice and the Bush administration will do anything with this? Probably not.

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