Mubarak urges Israel to reconsider its Mideast policies

By AFP – 3 Oct 2009
www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iNBLC8iyu6artjhVC1TP_krJAQ7A

CAIRO — Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on Saturday urged Israel to reconsider its Middle East policies, warning that any bid to impose “a fait accompli” solution would not bring peace to the region.

“Israel must reconsider its policies and its way of treating the Palestinians and Arabs,” Mubarak said in an interview with the armed forces magazine, on the occasion of the anniversary of the 1973 Israeli-Arab war.

“If (Israel) chooses the path of peace… this will encourage the Arabs to have confidence in its intentions,” he said.

“This is the core of the Arab peace initiative, which proposes normalisation by Arab states of relations with Israel in exchange for a comprehensive peace which establishes an independent Palestinian state linked to the withdrawal by Israel from all Arab lands it has occupied since 1967.”

Mubarak insisted that peace could not be achieved “by one party imposing its will on another party or by imposing a fait accompli.”

He said he was “optimistic” over the latest efforts by the United States to revive stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, adding that he believed “urgent and serious action as well as concrete measures” were needed to get the peace process going again.

“I am optimistic because I heard from (US) President (Barack) Obama when I met him about positive positions… and I believe that the weeks to come will see the beginning of an opportunity for real peace,” Mubarak said.

He stressed the need for “political will, in particular from the Israeli leaders.”

Egypt has been Israel’s main Arab interlocutor since the two signed a peace treaty in 1979, but the neighbours remain at odds over the peace process.

Obama last month held inconclusive three-way talks in New York with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas. He told them to stop stalling and open talks on a comprehensive deal to halt an “endless cycle” of conflict and suffering.

Final status issues include the fate of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, the borders of an eventual Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and the right of return of Palestinian refugees.

Netanyahu has rejected a total freeze on all settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem ahead of renewed peace talks, insisting on the need to guarantee “normal life” in settlements where 500,000 Israelis live.

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