Both Haaretz and YNet are reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that the ‘spirit’ of 2002 Saudi peace initiative could promote comprehensive peace in the region.
The initiative, backed by all 22 members of the Arab League, offers Israel full normalization in return for a withdrawal from territory conquered in the 1967 Six Day War, a Palestinian state and an equitable solution to the Palestinian refugee problem.
Speaking during a reception marking an Egyptian national holiday outside Tel Aviv and days before US President Barack Obama’s peace envoy, George Mitchell, is expected in the region for new talks about how to renew peace efforts, Netanyahu praised the 2002 initiative, saying “I believe that this spirit can help create an atmosphere in which a comprehensive peace is possible.”
Nabil Abu Rdainah, aide to Mahmoud Abbas, reacted to Netanyahu’s statements by saying the Palestinians were ready to “immediately” resume talks on a two-state solution based on an Israeli pullout from land captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem.
If Israel met these terms, including a halt to settlement construction, “the road to peacemaking will be open.”