The United States calls on “friends of Palestine” to normalize ties with the Israeli regime as the prospects of a fair peace deal seem to fly further out of reach.
In his Thursday address to the United Nations General Assembly, US President Barack Obama will plead to the Middle Eastern Arab states to help with the direct talks it has been sponsoring between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel.
“Many in this hall count themselves as friends of the Palestinians. But these pledges must now be supported by deeds,” said an advance copy of his remarks released by the White House, AFP wrote.
“Those who have signed on to the Arab Peace Initiative should seize this opportunity to make it real by describing and demonstrating the normalization that it promises Israel,” Obama will say.
The initiative was first proposed in 2002 at the Beirut Summit of the Arab League by Saudi Arabia’s then-Crown Prince King Abdullah and re-endorsed at the 2007 Riyadh Summit.
It envisages normalizing relations between the Arab world and Israel in exchange for a complete withdrawal from the occupied territories — including East al-Quds (Jerusalem) and a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee crisis based on UN resolutions.
The US president called on “those who speak out for Palestinian self-government” for political and financial support for the PA, urging “those who long to see an independent Palestine rise must stop trying to tear Israel down.”
This is while Israel has defiantly rejected the international community’s call for the expansion of a 10-month partial freeze on West Bank settlement construction which is due to expire on September 26.
The thorny issue was once seen as the main obstacle in the US-called direct talks between the PA and Israel. But Ramallah dashed Palestinian hopes on Monday by hinting that the harshly disputed talks would continue even if Israel resumed settlement activity in the West Bank.