Arab League leaders were in Washington last week doing what they do best: talking. Trouble is they’re all talk and no walk. This time they endorsed the concept of land swaps as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. They made it sound revolutionary but in fact it was old stuff for the two parties who’d been discussing that for more than a dozen years.
The League is still pushing the Arab Peace Initiative, which is a non-starter as long as it’s a take-it-or-leave-it offer that demands Israel accept in full before any negotiations can begin. That’s unrealistic and they know it. Maybe that’s even what they intended. Compounding the problem is that the League, and particularly the original Saudi author of the API, refuses even to speak to the Israelis.
If the Saudis and their brethren are as serious about peace, they’re the problem and not the solution. They know that if there is to be peace they must give the Palestinians the backbone they need, and that begins with Palestinian leaders doing something they’ve never tried: speaking truth to their own people. Mahmoud Abbas must make it clear to all Palestinians there can be no peace and no state without compromises by Palestinians as well as Israelis on borders, refugees, Jerusalem and other key issues.
It’s time for Arab League leaders to put up or shut up; the future of Middle East may depend on it. Read more about this in my Jerusalem Post column this week.