Arab League hold historic talk


Summary

The announcement came the same day Israel's cabinet approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners in a bid to bolster Abbas in his power struggle with the Islamic militant Hamas.

南宁桑拿

An official league visit would be a diplomatic coup for Israel.

The league historically has been hostile toward the Jewish state, but has grown increasingly conciliatory given the expanding influence of Islamic extremists in the region – a concern underscored by Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month.

Jordan's foreign ministry said foreign minister Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib and Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit would arrive in Jerusalem on Thursday for talks with Israeli officials – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and defence minister Ehud Barak.

‘Arab recognition of Israel’

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the foreign ministers would lead an Arab League mission to Israel to discuss the Arab peace plan, which would trade full Arab recognition of Israel for an Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war and the creation of a Palestinian state.

“This is the first time the Arab League is coming to Israel," Regev said. "From its inception the Arab League has been hostile to Israel. It will be the first time we'll be flying the Arab League flag."

Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa says: "The upcoming visit of Egypt's and Jordan's foreign ministers to Israel upon the request of the Arab committee of peace initiative is to conduct necessary contacts with Israel."

The two foreign ministers, whose countries have peace agreements with Israel, have been designated as the league's official point men for the Arab peace initiative.

‘Peace is the focus’

Livni met them in Cairo in May for the first official, public talks between the two sides, and the Arab peace initiative was the focus.

Israel rejected the plan outright when Saudi Arabia first proposed it in 2002, at the height of the Palestinian uprising.

But it softened its resistance after moderate Arab states endorsed the plan again in March, sharing their concerns about Iran's growing influence.

Israeli officials have said they welcomed aspects of the plan, while rejecting its call for a return of all of the West Bank and an implied demand to resettle Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war that followed Israel's creation and their descendants in Israel.

Moderate Arab countries and the West have been pushing for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking since Gaza fell to Hamas, a group that refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist and has killed more than 250 Israelis in suicide bombings.

Abbas ejected Hamas from government after the Gaza takeover and set up an emergency cabinet of loyalists that has Western and moderate Arab backing.

Regev says renewed relations with the Palestinian government following the shakeup and the linkage to a broader Middle East settlement would be at the heart of discussions with the Arab League envoys.

"They will be talking about how the Arab peace proposal can help energise the rapprochement between Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

‘Resumption of peace talks’

Last month, Egypt hosted a summit of the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders to show support for Abbas and to discuss the resumption of peace talks.

At that meeting Olmert pledged to free 250 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in a goodwill gesture meant to bolster Abbas.

On Sunday the cabinet formally approved the prisoner release.


The announcement came the same day Israel's cabinet approved the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners in a bid to bolster Abbas in his power struggle with the Islamic militant Hamas.

苏州皮肤管理中心

An official league visit would be a diplomatic coup for Israel.

The league historically has been hostile toward the Jewish state, but has grown increasingly conciliatory given the expanding influence of Islamic extremists in the region – a concern underscored by Hamas's violent takeover of the Gaza Strip last month.

Jordan's foreign ministry said foreign minister Abdul-Ilah al-Khatib and Egyptian counterpart Ahmed Aboul Gheit would arrive in Jerusalem on Thursday for talks with Israeli officials – Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and defence minister Ehud Barak.

‘Arab recognition of Israel’

Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Mark Regev said the foreign ministers would lead an Arab League mission to Israel to discuss the Arab peace plan, which would trade full Arab recognition of Israel for an Israeli withdrawal from all lands captured in the 1967 Mideast war and the creation of a Palestinian state.

“This is the first time the Arab League is coming to Israel," Regev said. "From its inception the Arab League has been hostile to Israel. It will be the first time we'll be flying the Arab League flag."

Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa says: "The upcoming visit of Egypt's and Jordan's foreign ministers to Israel upon the request of the Arab committee of peace initiative is to conduct necessary contacts with Israel."

The two foreign ministers, whose countries have peace agreements with Israel, have been designated as the league's official point men for the Arab peace initiative.

‘Peace is the focus’

Livni met them in Cairo in May for the first official, public talks between the two sides, and the Arab peace initiative was the focus.

Israel rejected the plan outright when Saudi Arabia first proposed it in 2002, at the height of the Palestinian uprising.

But it softened its resistance after moderate Arab states endorsed the plan again in March, sharing their concerns about Iran's growing influence.

Israeli officials have said they welcomed aspects of the plan, while rejecting its call for a return of all of the West Bank and an implied demand to resettle Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war that followed Israel's creation and their descendants in Israel.

Moderate Arab countries and the West have been pushing for renewed Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking since Gaza fell to Hamas, a group that refuses to recognise Israel's right to exist and has killed more than 250 Israelis in suicide bombings.

Abbas ejected Hamas from government after the Gaza takeover and set up an emergency cabinet of loyalists that has Western and moderate Arab backing.

Regev says renewed relations with the Palestinian government following the shakeup and the linkage to a broader Middle East settlement would be at the heart of discussions with the Arab League envoys.

"They will be talking about how the Arab peace proposal can help energise the rapprochement between Israel and the Palestinians," he said.

‘Resumption of peace talks’

Last month, Egypt hosted a summit of the Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders to show support for Abbas and to discuss the resumption of peace talks.

At that meeting Olmert pledged to free 250 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in a goodwill gesture meant to bolster Abbas.

On Sunday the cabinet formally approved the prisoner release.