Saudi Peace Plan (2002)

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Plan for an Arab-Israeli peace settlement proposed by Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia during the height of the al-Aqsa Intifada. It called for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 boundaries and accept the creation of an independent Palestinian state. In return the Arab states would recognize Israel and establish "normal relations" and security arrangements. The plan did not deal with the question of Palestinians' right to return; it called only for a "just solution" to the refugee problem. First floated publicly in February 2000, the plan was presented to the League of Arab States summit meeting in Beirut in March. It was endorsed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) in a statement read on the Arab satellite news channel al-Jazeera by Yasir Arafat (who was prevented by Israel from traveling out of the West Bank, and by Lebanese authorities from addressing the summit directly) and entered into the summit's minutes the next day by the Palestinian delegation. It was unanimously adopted by the member states in a closed session. In a declaration issued on 28 March, the last day of the summit, the League formally announced that in return for complete withdrawal from all occupied territories, including the Golan Heights; a "just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem" under the terms of General Assembly Resolution 194 of 1948 (which called for the right to return or compensation for the refugees); and the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with East Jerusalem as its capital, the Arab states would "consider the Arab-Israeli conflict over, sign a peace agreement, and achieve peace for all states in the region." This was the first peace proposal put forth by the entire League of Arab States, and the first to offer immediate recognition and a peace treaty with every Arab state. The Israeli government of prime minister Ariel Sharon was opposed to returning any territory or withdrawing any of the almost 200 West Bank settlements, outposts, and colonies that had been established since 1967, with a population of 400,000. It did not reject the proposal out of hand, calling it a "very interesting development," but let it die.

SEE ALSO Aqsa Intifada, al-;Arafat, Yasir;Gaza Strip;Golan Heights;League of Arab States;Palestinian Authority;Resolution 194;Settlements;Sharon, Ariel;West Bank.