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2002 Arab League summit

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Host country Lebanon
Date March 28, 2002 (2002-03-28)
Cities Beirut

The Beirut Summit (also known as the Arab Summit Conference) was a meeting of the Arab League in Beirut, Lebanon in March 2002 to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yassar Arafat, the leader of Palestine, was under house-arrest in his Ramallah compound. The Israeli forces confined him and prevented him from attending the Beirut Summit. The meeting became especially noteworthy for the adoption, by the Arab states attending, of a proposal offering a comprehensive peace between the Arab countries and Israel, called the Arab Peace Initiative.

Arab Peace Initiative

Main article: Arab Peace Initiative

The Arab Peace Initiative [1] was floated by then acting Saudi regent Crown Prince Abdullah as a potential solution to both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was published on March 28, 2002, during the meeting of the Arab League at the Beirut Summit, and achieved the unanimous consent of all members of the Arab League.

Considered a progressive proposal , it calls for the state of Israel to withdraw its forces from all the Occupied Territories, including the Golan Heights, to recognize "an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital" in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as a "just solution" for the Palestinian refugees. In exchange the Arab states affirmed that they would recognize the state of Israel, consider the Arab-Israeli conflict over and establish "normal relations" with Israel.

The initiative is based upon:

  • The principle of Land for peace
  • The conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties

The proposal, from Saudi Arabia, offered Israel recognition by the Arab countries, including into peace agreements and normalisation of relations if Israel would:

The goals of the initiative are:

Jordan's foreign minister said: The Arab initiative put forth at the Beirut Summit in March offers comprehensive peace in the region based on the internationally recognized formulation of "land for peace" - a return to June 4, 1967, borders in exchange for normal relations and a collective peace treaty.

In response, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres welcomed it and said: "... the details of every peace plan must be discussed directly between Israel and the Palestinians, and to make this possible, the Palestinian Authority must put an end to terror, the horrifying expression of which we witnessed just last night in Netanya," [2] referring to Netanya suicide attack perpetrated on previous evening which the Beirut Summit has failed to address. Many in the Israel camp argue that this proposal carries a lot less weight coming after the Palestinian Authority rejected Ehud Barak's offer at Camp David.

The somewhat obscure 4th section was inserted at Lebanese insistence and reflects its concern that the settlement of the refugee problem not be at what it considers the expense of Lebanon and its "demographic balance."

Lebanon and Syria campaigned for the inclusion of a reference to United Nations Resolution 194, which emphasizes the Palestinian right of return to Israel. A compromise was eventually reached, citing the resolution but stating that the League would support any agreement between Israel and Palestinians on the issue.

Arab-Israeli peace diplomacy and treaties


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