Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

We Are Ready… But!  

Many in the Western press are stressing the need for a clear peace plan that allows a two-state solution to be formulated now, not after the end of the war on Gaza. I don't believe that this proposal is mere speculation, but a kind of leak.

If these suggestions are indeed leaks, then that is a positive development, provided that these ideas are not being leaked to reassure skeptics and numb opposition, but to prepare those concerned and let them know that they must work the peace process that ends with a two-state solution. Otherwise, the war on Gaza would be another crime.

Thomas Friedman’s piece in The New York Times is among the most prominent articles urging President Biden to present a peace plan that ends with a two-state solution now. Is that possible? Are the West, Palestinians, and Arabs ready?

I believe that the Arabs are ready, but let me explain why. No one can deny that the final communique of the recent joint Arab-Islamic summit in Riyadh, which the Iranians attended, was astutely formulated, nor that it made several significant assertions.

First: The communique stressed that “the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, and calls on all Palestinian factions and parties to unite under its umbrella and shoulder their responsibilities under a PLO-led national partnership.” That is, the statement stressed that Palestinian decisions must be centered.

The second point: “Emphasize commitment to peace as a strategic choice, aiming to end Israeli occupation and resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict in accordance with international law and relevant legitimate decisions...” as well as “emphasizing adherence to the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 in its entirety and priorities.”

This means the Palestinians have Arab backing to push forward with the peace process now. Moreover, the communique stressed the need for the international community to act immediately to launch “a serious and credible process to impose peace based on the two-state solution.”

It also called for “convening an international peace conference, as soon as possible, through which a credible peace process will be launched based on international law, legitimate resolutions, and the principle of land for peace, within a defined timeframe and international guarantees...”

Alright, that speaks to the seriousness of the Arabs’ commitment, particularly the forces of moderation in the Arab world, to launching a peace process now, not “the day after.” What about the “but”? There are certainly obstacles. For example: can the Palestinian Authority grasp the current situation and understand that there is a need for reform? Can it introduce cadres within a framework respected and appreciated by Arab and international actors, and most importantly, make the Palestinians feel that they have a serious body representing them - an authority that understands the gravity of what is happening and that there could be a real opportunity to create the Palestinian state they seek?

That cannot be achieved with promises and procrastination. No one in the Arab world wants to gamble and take risks now. This is a delicate and dangerous moment, even internationally. Indeed, we are approaching the US presidential elections. Before and after they are held, we must confront the Iranian project to undercut peace in the region.

Internationally, are Washington and other Western capitals seriously committed to a peace process that allows for a two-state solution within a limited timeframe? Are they ready to genuinely push back against Netanyahu's madness? That's why I ask if “they” are ready; I am referring to everyone. Nevertheless, the devil is in the details, which are important and dangerous.