Arab countries endorsed a Mideast peace plan Monday that would allow for small shifts in Israel’s 1967 border, moving them closer to President Barack Obama’s two-state vision.
Speaking on behalf of an Arab League delegation to Washington, Qatari Prime Minister Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Al Thani called for an agreement between Israel and a future Palestine based on the Jewish state’s border before the 1967 Mideast War. But, unlike in previous such offers, he cited the possibility of “comparable,” mutually agreed and “minor” land swaps between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Al Thani spoke after his delegation met across the street from the White House with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State John Kerry, who has been pushing Arab leaders to embrace a modified version of their decade-old “Arab Peace Initiative” as part of a new U.S.-led effort to corral Israel and the Palestinians back into direct peace talks. Those negotiations have hardly occurred at all over the past 4 1/2 years amid deep disagreement over Israeli settlement construction in lands the Palestinians hope to include in their country.
“We’ve had a very positive, very constructive discussion over the course of the afternoon, with positive results,” Kerry said at Blair House, speaking with Al Thani at a podium beside him and senior officials from five other Arab governments behind them. He praised the Arab League for the “important role it is playing, and is determined to play, in bringing about a peace in the Middle East – and specifically by reaffirming the Arab Peace Initiative here this afternoon, with a view to ending the conflict.”
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