1. New Plan to Foist EU-Arab Peace on Israel

A group of Arab leaders this week began clocking up frequent flyer miles in an effort to come up with a plan that will counter the Bush administration’s momentum in the Middle East.

Jordan’s King Abdullah visited Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI. Early next week, the Jordanian monarch plans to call on Syrian president Bashar Assad in Damascus. As we went to press, King Mohammed was due in Riyadh for urgent talks, followed by a bevy of Arab foreign ministers.

DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s European and Middle Eastern sources report exclusively that all these comings and goings were initiated by Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal and EU foreign policy executive Javier Solana. Faisal acted with the blessing of his crown prince, while Solana received the green light from European Commission president Romano Prodi and French president Jacques Chirac. British prime minister Tony Blair was reservedly supportive.

Our sources reveal the key points of the secret plan passing to and fro among these figures:

Arab-EU delegation will lead negotiations

  1. A united Arab-EU delegation will take the place of the Palestinians at a peace conference with Israel.

  2. The talks will have a pre-agreed starting point: Each Arab country, without exception, will sign a peace treaty recognizing Israel and agree to establish full diplomatic, economic and cultural relations with the Jewish state.

  3. Israel will commit to a full withdrawal to the pre-1967 War lines.

  4. Once these steps are underway, the European Union will accept Israel as a full member.

Faisal and Javier both realize that for their plan to have any chance of success, the United States must be tempted to jump on board. Washington has been approached through two channels: British prime minister Tony Blair and representatives of UN secretary general Kofi Annan, including UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen.

To sell the plan to the Americans, the following proposed modifications were introduced:

  1. Normalization of relations between Israel and the Arabs and Palestinians will be based on Bush’s “road map” to peace.

  2. The Quartet for Middle East peace – the foreign ministers of the United States, Russia, the EU and the UN – will resume their activities.

  3. Israel will be accepted as a full member of NATO as well as the EU.

  4. The Americans, Europeans, Arabs and Israelis will accept the Geneva accord, the unofficial peace plan drawn up by Israeli dove Yossi Beilin and a Palestinian group headed by former information minister Yasser Abed Rabbo. All sides will acknowledge the accord – not as a document for implementation, but as the expression of a common Israeli-Palestinian desire for peace.

According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in Washington, Blair tried to raise this plan with Bush a number of times, but was rebuffed. The US president said he was interested right now only in Iraq, Libya and Sudan and would not be dragged into side issues.

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