Arab League Assembles for Annual Summit; Re-affirmation of Peace Plan Expected
Leaders of the Arab world are assembled in a resort on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea for its annual Arab League summit. Atop the agenda appears to be an assessment of US President Donald Trump and what the new American administration will mean to the Arab world. In addition to the Who’s Who among Arab leadership, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the UN envoy for Syria, and envoys from the US and Russia are present as well. Notably absent will be Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, who was suspended from the League shortly after the civil war began in his country six years ago. Also high on the agenda will be the Palestinian-Israeli conflict which is expected to be the subject of still another American shot at brokering a peace deal, this time headed by Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has requested that the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative be re-affirmed, underscoring an important caveat that was part of its initial presentation but is often omitted from conversation: that Israel must accept the deal “as is” with no opportunity to negotiate changes to the offer. Many who voice support for the Arab Peace Initiative do so without realizing that the inability to negotiate changes will render it unacceptable to the Israelis from the start.