Arab Peace Initiative
This is the full text of an agreement reached at the Arab League summit in Beirut
Thursday 28 March 2002
The Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level, at its 14th Ordinary Session,
· Reaffirms the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo extraordinary Arab summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government.
· Having listened to the statement made by his royal highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullaziz, the crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in which his highness presented his initiative, calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land for peace principle, and Israel's acceptance of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.
· Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:
1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.
2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:
a. Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967 as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.
b. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.
c. The acceptance of the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State on the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital.
3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:
a. Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.
b. Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.
4. Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.
5. Calls upon the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept this initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab Countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness and provide future generations with security, stability, and prosperity.
6. Invites the international community and all countries and organizations to support this initiative.
7. Requests the chairman of the summit to form a special committee composed of some of its concerned member states and the secretary general of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the security council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim States and the European Union.
"The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel."
"When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, "Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods."
"And the LORD said, 'Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu's dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel's independence. I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.'"
She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, “Call her name No Mercy, for I will have no mercy on the house of Israel, or to forgive them at all.
I'm interested when people like Beinart say Palestinians and Israelis don't have a common identity when I've personally interviewed many of these people who talk about how they lived together peacefully before the 1930s. One Haider Abdul-Shafi told me how, during Shabbat, he would go into Jewish homes and light the kerosine lambs and do other work for the Jewish families and how they all celebrated weddings, funerals and birthdays together. I believe the common identity is the land, perhaps.
But on another note, if Israel needs to be Israel for Jews (only, or mainly) what happens to the 20% of Palestinian citizens, continued second-class status? Also, if Israel is a refuge for the Jews why do more Jews live outside Israel than live in? These Jews certainly seem to be getting along in their respective pluralistic countries and societies. And if Beinhart thinks that, well, if the world turned against these Jews they'd need a place of refuge and tiny Israel would be that refuge, this fantastic Israel he envisions wouldn't have the capacity, the infrastructure to handle the immigration, adding that if this happened and "the world" turned against Jews to cause this, the U.S. would probably be part of that "world" and Israel would lose its only benefactor. But, if the U.S. continued its protection of Israel, more Jews would chose to live in the U.S. than in this Beinart Israel, you know, like his parents. It's a weak argument and, yes, anachronistic.
And, of course, we have more and more intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews.
It may be messy and difficult but, as Peter says, it's the only game in town because states built on ethnic purity have never worked but "in order to form a more perfect union" (which is not yet and is always a work in progress) need not cause us to fear its possibilities and revert to an ethnic, racist alternative. Open Hillel is a good example of this kind of work in progress.
MESA & BDS
At what point in a moral universe does an organization stand up and say, "Enough"?
While debates can rage about Israel's morality or justification – or lack thereof – regarding not just "mowing the lawn" or controlling an entire Palestinian population, not only in Gaza but also the West Bank if not within Israel itself, at some point one must ask, "What if I were a Palestinian?"
The fear to act, in this case supporting BDS as an organization, is understandable. MESA fears the Jews. Actually, that may not be true because, notably, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), the fastest growing Jewish organization in the country, stands firmly as a very vocal advocate of BDS so perhaps we should say fear or the Zionists. But when, under whatever fear strikes one's heart, does one realize that neutrality is no stance at all and that one must take a stand and by doing nothing one is taking a stand.
"Neutrality enables the status quo of oppression (and therefore violence) to continue. It is a way of giving tacit support to the oppressor." (Kairos South Africa Document)
As is often the case, almost any solidarity with the Palestinians is vehemently opposed by the Israeli lobby who claim to want "neutrality" and "inaction," and claim that any criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic. But as Rene' Cassin rightly states, "The solution to anti-Semitism is human rights,"
and as Archbishop Desmond Tutu has said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
At what point would MESA determine enough is enough? How much genocide is enough to finally take a stand? How much human suffering will we put up with before we decide to risk sticking our heads out, getting slapped around and demonized for a moral cause?
This issue is not about Jews; it's about justice and I long for the day when, as we think of Israel we think of her many wonderful accomplishments in technology, pharmaceuticals, and many other great industries that enhance humanity rather than its Apartheid.