The Saudi Initiative is a proposal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict approved by the Arab League during the Beirut Summit (2002) and reaffirmed in the Riyad Summit (2007). The Initiative proposes 1) the normalization of relations between the 22 Arab states and Israel; 2) the withdrawal of Israel from the territories conquered during the Six-Day War (1967), dividing eastern Jerusalem, surrendering all the Golan to Syria and all of the West Bank to Palestine (there can be an exchange of minor territories, a point accepted in another summit in 2013); 3) a fair solution for the problem of the Palestinian refugees, based on Declaration 194 of the UN General Assembly (traditionally, the Arabs interpret this as a “right”: descendants of refugees “return” to their homes in Israel; 4) Israel accepts a Palestinian State with eastern Jerusalem as its capital. The proposal was made by Prince Abdallah Iben Abdul-Assis and was interpreted at the time as an attempt to improve their position in front of the western world, especially after the attacks against the World Trade Center. The Arab Peace Initiative arrived on one of the bloodiest months of the Second Intifada. On the same day of the Summit, there was a Palestinian attack at the Hotel Park in Netanya, which took the lives of 31 civilians during the Passover festivity. The increase in violence made the Arab Peace Initiative weaken. The Israeli government, led by Ariel Sharon, rejected the Initiative arguing that the Arab countries were asking Israel to “pay” beforehand (acknowledging its principles) and then the normalization would come. Besides, he said that the Initiative contradicted Resolution 242. For a part of the Israeli political map, the Saudi initiative is a good basis to negotiate both a regional and a final solution.
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