Compromised peace: Arabs and the Israelis through the threshold [Archives:2007/1040/Viewpoint]

April 9 2007

Now that the Arab summit is over for the 19th time and the same agenda, it is probably a chance to come to a compromise and deal with our issues as Arab states. This was visible to an extent in the Riyadh declaration agreed on by the 17 heads of states. Other than emphasizing on Arab unity and other issues of concern and in addition to congratulating each other for making it through another five years in power, the Arab leaders faced the inevitable and conceded to normalizing with Israel. Not that they apposed this earlier, it's just now things are in the open. And in order to save face, the declaration included demands that Israel falls back to 1967 boarders and resettlement of Palestinian refugees. Both demands were laughed off by Olmert in more than one press statement during the last few days although he did call it “a sign of improvement”.

How long will it be before the peace-for-land deal that was originally presented in 2002 be rejected? Germany has made the Middle East issues a priority during its six month presidency, and this is why Merkel was in the region recently advising people to get things moving and compromise in order to make peace.

Again it is the waiting game before we discover how well the Arab summit went. Will Qadhafi be proved wrong for not believing in his fellow Arab leaders or will time prove him right?

How much more would Arabs need to compromise for peace to be established in the region? And will they walk the extra mile if that what it takes, even if it means losing popularity among their people?

Many speculate that this is a different summit and is one with concrete results. With the European Union's support and Saudi leadership perhaps there is a chance.