Suleiman in Jerusalem coordinates Egyptian-Israeli positions for talks with Obama

Middle East policy-making went into high gear in Jerusalem Wednesday, April, 21 as prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu called a special security cabinet session in the morning ahead of Egypt’s senior negotiator, intelligence minister Gen. Omar Suleiman’s arrival.
Suleiman arranged to meet the prime minister, defense minister, foreign minister, opposition leader and president and brought Avigdor Lieberman an invitation to visit Cairo.
After exposing Hizballah’s Iranian-backed machinations to destabilize the Egyptian government, Cairo finds it is fighting an enemy shared with Jerusalem.
The Egyptian visitor and his Israeli hosts therefore sought to define common interests ahead of the separate White House talks Netanyahu, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will hold between late May and early June.
Obama announced the invitations after his conversation with the visiting King of Jordan, Abdullah II at which, debkafile‘s exclusive Washington sources disclose, the US president accepted the extended Arab peace plan initiated by Saudi Arabia and reaffirmed at an Arab foreign ministers’ conference in Amman this month. He will present this formula to his three Middle East visitors as the starting point for the diplomatic process.
Three major flies in Washington’s peacemaking ointment are, one, the rival Palestinian Hamas and Fatah factions failed to achieve a power-sharing accord in the negotiations brokered in person by Gen. Suleiman. Mahmoud Abbas therefore represents only one Palestinian faction – and not necessarily the largest one. The rejectionist Hamas and the Gaza Strip would be left out of any peace equation and well-placed to sabotage it.
Second, Syria stands opposed to the Arab peace initiative.
The Israeli position will be clarified by Netanyahu when he meets the US president in Washington in about a month. He will lay emphasis on Iran’s aggressive posture, military nuclear program and sponsorship of rejectionist and terrorist Middle East elements as the major impediment to peace in the region. And, whatever concessions the Israeli prime minister may offer, they will not include acceptance of the 1948 Palestinian refugees or the renunciation of historic Jerusalem to the Palestinian state, both key Arab demands.
The new Arab peace initiative version presented by Abdullah simply spells out some of the provisions of the original text, such the nature of the “normal relations” on offer by Arab governments. This and other gestures would reward Israel for its withdrawal to the pre-1967 war lines, i.e. its pullback from the West Bank, Golan Heights and historic Jerusalem, its acceptance of Palestinian statehood and the return of the refugees to their former homes.
The two leaders agreed the document would not be published before Obama presents it to Netanyahu at the White House. He will ask the Israeli prime minister for an immediate answer and urge him to accept the Arab peace plan as the basis of direct negotiations with the Palestinians and Syria in which the United States will be actively engaged.
Our sources add that the US president is seriously considering making a televised speech before Netanyahu’s arrival to play up the Arab proposals on offer for far-reaching Israeli concessions to the Palestinians and Syria.
Before Abdullah left Washington, Obama called on all Middle East parties to start the ball rolling by making sweeping faith-building gestures in the coming months.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email