Imad K. Harb: Mahmoud Abbas at the UN Security Council

What was most noticeable in Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s peace plan was his reaffirmation that the Arab Peace Initiative (API) of 2002 remains the central piece of any peace deal, which means that he has wide Arab official support. Specifically, he asserted that the API should be used as originally adopted by the League of Arab States, i.e., that peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis must be achieved before that between Arabs and Israelis. With these words, Abbas dissipated any hope that he or Palestinian leaders would accept what has been dubbed the “outside-in” approach, according to which Arabs would recognize and build relations with Israel and then persuade the Palestinians to do the same. Abbas’s rejection of this roundabout approach to peace thus aborts Israeli leaders’ wishes to avoid making concessions to Palestinians. It also obviates thinking among some Arab leaders that they could take away the Palestinians’ right to speak for themselves regarding their national rights and self-determination.
Abbas’s plan also includes the unequivocal expectation from his proposed international peace conference that Palestine would be accepted as a full member of the United Nations, with East Jerusalem as its capital. This expectation encompasses the essential ingredient of the Palestinian national enterprise. It also reaffirms the centrality of the two-state solution––about which the Trump Administration has equivocated and which Israel has ignored––and presents another call for ending Israel’s occupation and colonization of Palestinian lands.

Imad K. Harb is the Director of Research and Analysis at Arab Center Washington DC. To learn more about Imad and read his previous publications click here