How Israel understands the Arab Peace Initiative

Apr 04,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – Ramzy Baroud

Once more, the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002 is taking centre stage.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas insisted during his speech at the recently concluded Arab League summit, that the initiative is the only solution on the table, asserting that it will not be changed or even tweaked.

But why is this initiative, which was put forward by Saudi Arabia 15 years ago, now infused back into the already congested Middle East’s political discourse, despite the fact that Israel has rejected it repeatedly and the US has shown little interest in enforcing it?

In March 2002, the initiative, made of a few sentences, was proclaimed at the Arab League summit in Beirut.

Fewer than half of the Arab leaders participated in that conference. The head of PA and chairman of Palestine Liberation Organisation at the time, Yasser Arafat, was not allowed to attend.

Then Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon had Arafat placed under house arrest in Ramallah. He told Arafat that if Israel allows him to leave, he would not be allowed back.

Arafat died two years later, amid allegations that he was poisoned.


The writer,, has been writing about the Middle East for over 20 years. He is an internationally syndicated columnist, a media consultant, author of several books and the founder of His books include “Searching Jenin”, “The Second Palestinian Intifada” and “My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story”. He contributed this article to The Jordan Times.


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