December 11, 2008

The initiative is a framework for a comprehensive peace between Israel and all Arab countries. It is based on the principles of land for peace, as outlined in UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, the two-state solution and the belief that use of armed force to resolve the conflict will provide neither peace nor security.

The proposal calls for Israel to affirm:
• Commitment to a full withdrawal from all occupied territories to the June 4, 1967 lines, including the Golan Heights and territories in southern Lebanon
• Achievement of an agreed upon solution to the Palestinian refugee problem in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 194
• Acceptance of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip based on the June 4, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital

The Arab states would affirm:
• The end of the Arab-Israeli conflict, entrance into a peace agreement with Israel and the provision of security for the whole Middle East
• Establishment of normal relations with Israel as part of this peace

The proposal includes a rejection of “all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.” It closes by asking the Israeli government and all Israelis to accept the plan and inviting the international community to support the plan. It also provides for the formation of a committee to build support for the initiative.

Formulated by Saudi Arabia’s then-Crown Prince, now King, Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, the basic outline of the plan was initially introduced in an off-the- record conversation between him and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in February 2002. With Abdullah’s authorization, Friedman published the contours of the proposal on February 17, 2002.

2002 Arab League Summit in Beirut
The Arab League endorsed the plan at a summit held in Beirut on March 28, 2002 despite initial Syrian objections and the absence of ten Arab leaders, including Palestinian Authority (PA) President Yasir Arafat, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah II bin al-Hussein. At the same time that all the delegations to the League unanimously adopted the plan, they also issued a harsh statement against Israel, which supported both the Palestinian Intifadah and the right of return for refugees. The plan was adopted a day after a major bombing in the Israeli city of Netanya, which led to an Israeli military incursion into the West Bank. Israeli reaction to the peace plan was tepid; it questioned what the proposal meant by normal relations with Israel and rejected a right of return for refugees. Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon also refused a full Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

2007 Arab League Summit in Riyadh

In March 2007, members of the Arab League reaffirmed their support for the peace plan at a summit in Riyadh. PA President Mahmoud Abbas vocally supported the agreement, while Hamas, and then-PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, refrained from taking a stance. In response, Israel said that it was interested in pursuing a dialogue with Arab states that desire to work towards peace, though it did not go so far as to support the plan.

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“We knew at the outset that the task would be difficult. We acknowledged that publicly and privately. We knew this would be a road with many bumps— and there have been many bumps—and that continues to this day. But we are not deterred. We are, to the contrary, determined more than ever to proceed to realize the common objective, which we all share, of a Middle East that is at peace with security and prosperity for the people of Israel, for Palestinians, and for all the people in the region. We will continue our efforts in that regard, undeterred and undaunted by the difficulties, the complexities or the bumps in the road.”—George Mitchell, special envoy for Middle East peace, remarks with Prime Minister Netanyahu, September 29, 2010

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