Powered by WebAds

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Peres to meet with Mubarak just before Nasrallah

Israeli President Shimon Peres is to meet on Thursday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak just a day after it was announced that Mubarak invited Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah to meet with him in Cairo.
"Were Prime Minister Ehud Olmert still in complete control, he would have told Peres that he would be the one meeting Mubarak," one senior diplomatic source said.

The source said that prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni, who is still trying to put together a government, was in no position at this point to tell Peres not to make the trip.

Peres's office announced the meeting on Monday, saying the two presidents would discuss "advancing the peace process between Israel and its neighbors, strengthening ties between Israel and Egypt, the matter of kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, and a variety of other state and security issues. The two will also discuss the global financial crisis and its possible ramifications in the Middle East."

Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said the Arab Peace Initiative, which has enjoyed a bit of a revival over the last week, was likely to be a primary focus of the talks.
Peres' position is ceremonial and he has no formal powers. Nevertheless, because of Peres' 'stature' in the diplomatic community, this meeting is very dangerous for Israel.

The problems with the 'Saudi plan' are well known.
The Saudi Peace plan of February 2002 was re-launched by the Arab League in March 2007 in Riyadh as the Arab Peace Initiative, and calls for a full Israel withdrawal from all territories taken in the Six Day War, including east Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, in exchange for normal ties with the Arab world. [Those 'ties' are probably not worth much more than our ties with the Egyptians. Egypt continues to shun tourism to and business with Israel and continues to conduct war games that posit Israel as the enemy. CiJ]

It also calls for a "just solution" to the Palestinian refugee problem in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194, but stated that the Arab League would back any plan on the matter agreed by Israel and the Palestinians.

UN General Assembly Resolution 194 from 1948 states that "refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so." [It would mean the end of the Jewish state if all of the third and fourth generation 'Palestinians' who claim 'refugee' status were permitted to return here. CiJ]

Peres reportedly told Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef last week about the need to go for a regional agreement, not just a bilateral one with Syria or the Palestinians, and Labor head Ehud Barak also mentioned the plan of late.

"There is definitely room to introduce a comprehensive Israeli plan to counter the Saudi plan that would be the basis for a discussion on overall regional peace," Barak said Sunday. [But of course the Saudis have said that their plan is non-negotiable. CiJ]

In July 2007, the Arab League charged the foreign ministers of Jordan and Egypt to formally discuss the plan with Israel, but those talks went nowhere.
But Mubarak has another guest on his way that makes it particularly noxious for Peres to be visiting Egypt at this time:
Peres is not the only person the Egyptians have invited for a visit, with the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reporting Tuesday that Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah has been invited there as well.

The offer was reportedly made as part of Cairo's efforts to maintain calm between Lebanon's rival factions and promote better relations between Beirut and Damascus.

According to the report, Egypt believes Nasrallah may choose to send another Hizbullah official in his stead.

Because of a fear of assassination, Nasrallah has appeared in public only rarely since the end of the Second Lebanon War in August 2006.


Post a Comment

<< Home