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The Arab Peace Initiative Remains… A Necessity

The Arab Peace Initiative Remains… A Necessity

Friday, 21 August, 2020 - 12:15
Nabil Amr
Palestinian writer and politician

Despite all of the breaches to it, the Arab Initiative for Peace, and even though it has not contributed to meeting the aspirations of progress toward ending the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the initiative must remain on the table, placed next to other initiatives that ought to be suggested again or at least recalled, at least as a roadmap, like the Obama-Kerry vision for peace.


Although this may seem like a call for the reviving corpses or assembling a car from used spare parts, this kind of thing makes sense in politics.


The Middle East has been an arena for archetypical experiments on wars that erupt and stop, in addition to successful and unsuccessful peace initiatives. The success that has been achieved - and let us consider the Egyptian and Jordanian treaties to be obvious archetypes- was modest in that it was limited to those who reached the agreements. The settlements did not develop and expand to instigate a comprehensive peace as the late Anwar Sadat, who led the first initiative, had promised


Though the Egyptian and Jordanian initiatives are the move prominent successful attempts at attaining peace in the region, the fact that these initiatives did not extend further or affect the direction of the other states surrounding Israel- Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and even Iraq, opened the door to wars that were no less destructive than those that had passed, that is, the traditional wars of organized armies.


The Arab Initiative for Peace that got its first stamp of approval from a weighty Arab state (Saudi Arabia) before being bolstered by the support of all Arabs and Muslims, and the initiative which the world recognized is perhaps one of the only references for the sought after peace between Arabs and Israelis. Thus, by all standards, it should not be pulled off the table because of its failure to achieve the objectives, for everyone knows that the initiatives which were brought forward, before and after it, also failed. Consequently, there are no benefits to be obtained from withdrawing our initiative, even with the more recent initiatives on the same table or at an adjoining table.


The Middle East will continue to an open arena for wars and settlement projects and agendas of various motives and objectives. So, though the efforts did not achieve the goal they had hoped to obtain, we should not abandon it and create a void that takes us from the situation we find ourselves in, from wars that are relatively controlled, to total chaos that we would have no means to control. What has happened and is now happening in many Arab war zones are examples ought to keep us alert to their expansion.


Now more than ever, we need to formulate a framework for all of our initiatives after thoroughly looking into the reasons for their failure. If we were to embark on this, the Arab Initiative, which was unanimously formally endorsed by Arab and Islamic countries, may be one of the new amended initiative’s references. The major hindrance to its potential success, which had also been the primary reason for its failure, is Israel’s right to “veto” any initiative it does not like that the world has granted it. This led to sanctification of Israel’s approvals and disapprovals and is as far as can be from an efficacious approach to reaching settlements. Beginning to think of how to amend the initiatives and come out with a plan that has the potential to succeed does not imply starting from scratch or creating something new and unprecedented. But the successful attempts of the past need practical new ideas to take us from the status quo of localized success that is fraught with danger, to comprehensive success of the entire Arab Israeli conflict.


Such an initiative or revision, when it is put on the table, and this will happen after the next American elections, the results of which are uncertain will achieve two good things, or at least one of them: either we avoid a vacuum, or advance on our path to peace.


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