[Middle East News Service Comments: This an article that could be easily overlooked, after all Akiva Eldar has lamented about Israel’s ignorance of the
Arab Peace Initiative before. But he does provide a new angle in terms of analysis. However , it is the second item in
his weekly column which contains the sensational news: Israeli hospitals were prepared for casualties before the raid on
the Mavi Marmara. As Eldar says: “It is clear that among those who were involved in planning the campaign, there were
people who were not surprised by the welcome the Israeli soldiers received on board the vessel.”
More recently posted items including a superb analysis of who won and who lost over the Gaza siege saga by Time’s Tony
Karon can be found at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=lf#!/profile.php?id=523794418
– Sol Salbe.]
After 8 years, why hasn't Israel responded to the Arab peace initiative?
Few Israelis know what is written in the first pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic document that proposes recognizing Israel and
exchanging hostile relations for normalization.
By Akiva Eldar
What would we say if the Arabs were to ignore an Israeli peace initiative for more than eight years? What would we write
if, during all this time, the Palestinian leadership were not to have even one discussion about our initiative? How many
Israelis, including learned members of the academic world, know what is written in the first pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic
document that proposes recognizing Israel and exchanging hostile relations for normalization?
Prof. Yoram Meital, the head of the Chaim Herzog Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the
Negev, who this week opened a comprehensive conference at the university on the initiative and its political and
environmental implications, said that this was the only international conference that Israeli academia had held so far
about the Arab peace plan.
For the first time, representatives from the West Bank, Egypt, and Jordan sat at a round table along with their Israeli
colleagues and spoke about the nature of the peace initiative. It was obvious that the guests from Bethlehem University,
from the Egyptian media and the University of Amman had come to Be'er Sheva to try and figure out why the Jews, who are
considered clever people, (no one bothered to deny this ) are missing a rare opportunity to put an end to their
exhausting conflict and at the same time to annoy Hezbollah and isolate Iran.