Israel’s Ruling Party Rejects Palestinian State, Arabs Reaffirm Peace Plan
Washington, DC — The Central Committee of the Likud, the party which leads Israel’s coalition government, yesterday voted that “No Palestinian state will be created west of the Jordan .” The vote passed by 59% to 41%. Supporters of the resolution, led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted that Israel would never permit an independent Palestinian state of any kind in any part of historical Palestine. The vote endorses permanent Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which is the cause of the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Following a meeting at Sharm el Sheik in Egypt, the leaders of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt reaffirmed their commitment to a peace plan adopted unanimously by the Arab League which holds that all the Arab states would create normal relations with Israel in the event of an Israeli withdrawal from Arab lands occupied in the 1967 war. The leaders, Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah, expressed their “sincere desire for peace and their rejection of violence in all its forms.”
ADC President Ziad Asali said, “the vote by Israel’s ruling Likud party to oppose any form of Palestinian statehood whatsoever simply underscores the obvious point that as long as Israel refuses to end its occupation, the conflict cannot end. 3.5 million Palestinians live under Israeli military rule as non-citizens with no legal, political or human rights whatsoever. This is intolerable. The commitment of the Likud party to continue that situation indefinitely is not only a prescription for endless conflict, it is an excellent illustration of the extremist policies that have forced this hideous conflict on Palestinians and Israelis alike and precluded peace. The whole world, including the Bush Administration, recognizes that Palestinian statehood is the key to peace, yet Israel’s leading party remains implacably opposed to it and committed to the occupation.”
Dr. Asali continued, “ADC warmly welcomes the reaffirmation of the Arab League peace plan by the leaders of Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This plan, which is a serious attempt to rethink the peace process and meet the stated needs of all parties in a fair and reasonable manner, would create secure and recognized borders for both Israel and a Palestinian state. It would be the basis for a new, peaceful and prosperous Middle East. We urge the Bush Administration make this plan the focus of its Middle East peace efforts and use all of its influence to ensure that talks designed to end Israel’s occupation commence at the earliest possible date.”