JAFFA, Israel – Advisers to Sen. Barack Obama have in recent days given positive reception in meetings with Arab diplomats to a so-called “Arab Peace Initiative,” which offers normalization of ties with the Jewish state in exchange for extreme Israeli concessions, an Egyptian official told WND.
The claim adds weight to the growing accumulation of evidence that Obama backs the Arab League’s Initiative, which defenders of Israel warn would leave the Jewish state with truncated, difficult to defend borders and could threaten Israel’s Jewish character by compelling it to accept millions of foreign Arabs.
The Egyptian official told WND yesterday that Obama advisers held meetings with Arab countries over the past two weeks in which the Initiative was “very present.”
The official said in most cases it was the Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan, that stressed the importance of the plan. He said Obama’s advisers expressed a positive attitude toward the plan, but he stopped short of confirming a London Sunday Times article last week that claimed Obama would make the plan a central part of his Mideast policy.
Senior Obama Mideast adviser Dennis Ross flatly denied the Times report, which quoted a source close to Obama stating that the president-elect intends to throw his support behind the Arab plan.
One senior Obama adviser was quoted telling the Times that on a visit to the Middle East last July, Obama said privately to the Palestinian leadership it would be “crazy” for Israel to refuse the Initiative, which Obama purportedly said could “give them peace with the Muslim world.”
Although Ross denied Obama would trumpet the Arab plan, Israeli President Shimon Peres told the British media last week that in conversations he held with the president-elect, Obama proclaimed himself “very impressed” with the Arab League’s peace plan. Peres was responding to questions about whether he thought Obama would advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in general and the Arab League’s plan in particular.
Initiative threatens Jewish state
The Arab Initiative, originally proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2002 and later adopted by the Arab League, states that Israel would receive “normal relations” with the Arab world in exchange for a full withdrawal from the entire Gaza Strip, West Bank, Golan Heights and eastern Jerusalem, which includes the Temple Mount.
The West Bank contains important Jewish biblical sites and borders central Israeli population centers, while the Golan Heights looks down on Israeli civilian zones and was twice used by Syria to mount ground invasions into the Jewish state.
The Arab plan also demands the imposition of a non-binding U.N. resolution that calls for so-called Palestinian refugees who wish to move inside Israel to be permitted to do so at the “earliest practicable date.”
Palestinians have long demanded the “right of return” for millions of “refugees,” a formula Israeli officials across the political spectrum warn is code for Israel’s destruction by flooding the Jewish state with millions of Arabs, thereby changing its demographics.
When Arab countries attacked the Jewish state after its creation in 1948, some 725,000 Arabs living within Israel’s borders fled or were expelled from the area that became Israel. Also at that time, about 820,000 Jews were expelled from Arab countries or fled following rampant persecution.
While most Jewish refugees were absorbed by Israel and other countries, the majority of Palestinian Arabs have been maintained in 59 U.N.-run camps that do not seek to settle those Arabs elsewhere.
There are currently about 4 million Arabs who claim Palestinian refugee status with the U.N., including children and grandchildren of the original fleeing Arabs; Arabs living full-time in Jordan; and Arabs who long ago emigrated throughout the Middle East and to the West.
According to Arab sources close to the Arab Initiative, Arab countries are willing to come to an agreement whereby Israel absorbs about 500,000 “refugees” and reaches a compensation deal with the PA for the remaining millions of Palestinians.
Obama advisers back Arab plan
Some top Obama current and former advisers have recently endorsed the Arab Initiative. The Times referenced a partisan group of senior foreign policy advisers who urged Obama to give the Arab plan top priority immediately after his election victory, including Lee Hamilton, the former co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Democratic former national security adviser. Brent Scowcroft, a Republican former national security adviser, also joined in the appeal.
A PA official speaking to WND said that in recent weeks even the Bush White House and State Department has been focused on a drive to reach a series of understandings between Israel and the PA that ultimately seeks to create a Palestinian state in nearly the entire pre-1967 borders, meaning the entire Gaza, West Bank and eastern Jerusalem areas.
“We are confident from this mood of Bush that an Obama administration will be even more willing to embrace the pre-1967 borders as the starting point of further talks,” the PA official said.
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