Arab League offers Palestine-Israel land swaps

Arab League offers Palestine-Israel land swaps
Wed May 1, 2013 12:18:04

Qatar’s prime minister says Arab nations are ready to be flexible with their 2002 peace plan with Zionist regime, claiming the Palestinians and Israelis could trade land rather than conform exactly to the 1967 borders.

Shaikh Hamad Bin Jasem Al Thani made the comment after he and a group of Arab officials met US secretary of state John Kerry to discuss how to revive stalled talks between Israeli regime and the Palestinians Authority.


Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation, Al-Thani appeared to make a concession to the Israelis by explicitly raising the possibility of land swaps.


Al-Thani told reporters the Arab League delegation understood that "peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis is ... a strategic choice for the Arab states."


Kerry has made no secret of his hope to revive the so-called peace talks, which broke down in 2010, but it remains unclear whether US President Barack Obama will decide to back a major US effort.


In convening the group, Kerry is trying to ensure that a new peace process would have the backing of the Arab states.


“The Arab League delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the [possibility] of comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land,” he told reporters after the meeting at the Blair House, the US President’s guest house.


Monday’s talks included the Bahraini, Egyptian, Jordanian and Qatari foreign ministers as well as officials from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian National Authority and the Arab League. US Vice-President Joe Biden also attended part of the meeting.


The Arab League proposal offered full Arab recognition of an Israeli regime if it gave up land occupied in a 1967 war and accepted a “just solution” for Palestinian refugees.


Rejected by the Israelis when it was originally proposed at a Beirut summit in 2002, the plan has major obstacles to overcome.


Israel objects to key points, including a return to 1967 borders, the inclusion of occupied East al-Quds in a Palestinian state, and the return of Palestinian refugees to occupied territory that Israel claims as its own.


The core issues that need to be settled in the more than six-decade dispute include borders, the fate of Palestinian refugees, the future of Jewish colonies on the West Bank and the status of occupied al-Quds.