Monthly Archives: February 2006

Keeping a Moroccan Tradition Alive, One Tale at a Time

Keeping a Moroccan Tradition Alive, One Tale at a Time

Mohammad Jabiri, a storyteller for more than 40 years, at work in the Jemaa el Fna square in Marrakesh

By MARLISE SIMONS

February 27, 2006
Marrakesh Journal
NY Times

MARRAKESH, Morocco — It’s time for work and Mohammad Jabiri heads for Jemaa el Fna, the main square of Marrakesh, often called the cultural crossroads for all of Morocco.

Stooping a little, he weaves through the crowds, past the snake charmers and their flutes, the racket of drummers and cymbalists, the cheers for the acrobats and the shouting of the kebab vendors, until he stakes out a quiet spot for himself.

Mr. Jabiri is a storyteller, a profession he has practiced for more than 40 years. Every day, he conjures up a real or imagined past that is filled with ancient battles and populated with sinners and prophets, wise sultans and tricky thieves.

For this he needs few props: he puts down a small stool and some colored illustrations. The rest is performance. His eyes can grow large and magnetic and his voice booms or whispers, depending on the intrigue.

Mr. Jabiri, 71, is one of eight bards still performing publicly in the Marrakesh region of southern Morocco. But most, like him, fear that their generation may be the last in a line that is as old as this medieval city.

These men descend from the era — long before radio and television, movie theaters and telephones — when itinerant narrators brought news and entertainment to country fairs and village squares.

Yet somehow, Mr. Jabiri still manages to defy the formidable electronic competition.

“Some people feel that television is very far away from them,” he explained to a visitor. “They prefer making contact, they prefer hearing live stories.”

And so they did on a recent afternoon, as Mr. Jabiri called out a blessing, raised his right hand and began the tale of the young woman who fell in love with a saintly hermit. But the hermit rejected her as an envoy of the devil, so she decided to lie down with a shepherd who crossed her path, became pregnant and said it was the hermit’s child.

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Big Ideas Lecture by Tariq Ramadan

Lecture by Tariq Ramadan

Tariq Ramadan is our first speaker. He is a Swiss-born grandson of one of the founders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt whose PhD dissertation was about Nietzsche, the intellectual grandfather of post-modernity. Ramadan defines himself as Western Muslim and he speaks to other Western Muslims about what it means to be both a Westerner and a Muslim. As you can appreciate, he is a very busy man nowadays.

In this talk, which he gave late last Fall at Queen’s University, Ramadan speaks to Canadians as much as to Canadian Muslims about complex identities and multiculturalism. Most importantly, he suggests that for a society to be truly multicultural it needs to be more that just tolerant of immigrants, it must show itself to be receptive to being re-shaped by the newcomers. A subject worthy of your input on our discussion board.

To listen, click here.

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What Aid Cutoff to Hamas Means

What aid cutoff to Hamas would mean

Commentary
February 27, 2006
The Christian Science Monitor

The Palestinians are the most foreign-aid dependent society on earth. So the threat by the United States to cut off most aid to Palestine after its 3.6 million people last month elected the militant group Hamas into government, is foreboding.

The European Union is weighing similar action. And Israel says it will withhold $55 million a month in taxes and other fees collected by Israel, but owed to Palestinians.

“The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,” Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, told the Israeli media.

That remark prompted condemnation in both Israel and in other nations.

“Chilling and cruel,” comments Ali Abunimah, a founder of the Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian website based in Chicago. “There will be hunger.”

The goal of the financial squeeze, according to a recent New York Times report, is to destabilize a new Hamas Palestinian government so that it would fail, thereby prompting new elections.

Hamas is responsible for dozens of suicide bomb attacks over the past few years. To Hamas and its sympathizers, this is justified resistance to a decades-long Israeli occupation. But killing and injuring hundreds of civilians in Israel is also defined as terrorism.

“You cannot have one foot in the camp of terror and the other foot in the camp of politics,” Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the press in Cairo last week. “You have to renounce violence.”

She was on a Middle East tour to urge Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to stop aiding Palestine – at least until Hamas recognizes Israel, ends terrorist attacks, and accepts previous diplomatic agreements between Israel and the Palestinians.

There’s no dispute that slashing US aid will lead to greater deprivation in the West Bank and Gaza. The US provided about one-third of the nearly $1.1 billion in aid disbursed to the Palestine Authority (PA) and for Palestinian projects last year. That amounts to about $300 per man, woman, and child.

In relation to a gross national income for the average Palestinian of $1,327 last year, any cut in foreign aid and tax revenue is serious.

In effect, Palestinians have a third-world income – a few dollars a day. And they live next door to first-world Israel, with a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of about $22,200 last year. Israel gets about $420 per capita each year in aid from the US, partly as a result of the 1979 Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt. Though that’s more aid per capita than Palestinians get, Israel is less dependent on it.

Noting the Palestinian aid numbers, Scott Lasensky, a researcher at the United States Institute of Peace, says, “Clearly there is room for leverage.” But he doubts the aid cutoff will proceed to the point of “mass starvation.”

One reason is that humanitarian assistance is likely to continue. And many contributors to Palestine may resist US pressure for cuts. Last week, Iran offered to step in with new money.

Nonetheless, there could be more malnutrition. A UN report two years ago said malnutrition among Palestinians was widespread at the height of the intifada when movement and commerce were strictly regimented by Israel in an effort to restrain the violence.

Another reason is that aid to Palestine comes from multiple sources. A World Bank trust fund gave $125 million to the PA in 2004. A new Congressional Research Service report lists nine other aid sources for the PA. At the top was the European Union with $105 million. Saudi Arabia gave $76 million, the US $20 million, and so on down through Libya, Britain, Norway, Japan, Canada, and Egypt. Even more aid comes from the EU, the US, and Persian Gulf nations for specific development projects ($300 million, $345 million, and about $200 million respectively in 2005).

Egyptian foreign minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said Egypt would not cut off aid because it is important “to meet the humanitarian needs of the Palestinian people.” Saudi Arabia has also said that it will not cut off aid. Other aid providers are unlikely to join an aid boycott.

Should Palestinians obtain an independent nation, its economic viability remains an open question. But until then, under the 4th Geneva Convention of 1949, an occupying power is responsible for the welfare of those whose territory is being occupied. Providing no aid, “Israel is not in compliance,” says Mr. Abunimah.

A World Bank report this month reckons real GDP in the West Bank and Gaza grew 8 to 9 percent last year, continuing a modest recovery that began two years ago. Extra foreign aid helped. Yet the economy is still 29 percent below where it was in 2003. Unemployment is at 23 percent.

Another issue is that the Palestinian population grows more than 3 percent a year. Each Palestinian woman in Gaza has close to six children on average; in the West Bank, 4.4 children is the average.

Some Israelis see this as a demographic threat. Abunimah holds that large families arise from the parents’ need to ensure help in their old age in a society without Social Security or a system of government medical care.

For economists, rapid population growth makes a rise in economic prosperity difficult, especially in an area with limited land and resources. What’s needed, the World Bank report suggests, is peace, the lifting of restrictions on Palestinian travel and commerce, Palestinian governance reform, and more foreign aid.

Peace will probably be expensive. At one point, President Clinton offered $35 billion in incentives, attempting to broker a peace deal. That effort ultimately failed.

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Hamas: The Perils of Power

Hamas: The Perils of Power

Volume 53, Number 4 – March 9, 2006
Exchange
New York Review of Books

By Hussein Agha, Robert Malley

In the days following the Palestinian elections on January 25, in which Hamas won seventy-four out of 132 seats in the Palestine Legislative Council, Hamas officials expressed hope that they could join with Fatah in forming a government. They spoke of national unity and referred respectfully to the authority of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas. In statements aimed at the West, they claimed they had never truly advocated Israel’s destruction, and they made it clear they were willing to deal pragmatically with both the Jewish state and the agreements the Palestinian Authority had made with it. They apparently dropped, at least from their immediate goals, their demand for an Islamic Palestinian state; and they said nothing about resuming armed attacks. An outsider could be forgiven for failing to realize that Hamas had done quite well in the voting, let alone that it had won, let alone by a landslide.

Out-and-out victory was not what Hamas had expected or, for that matter, what it had wished for. It had come to see itself as a watchdog on the sidelines, sitting in the legislature without controlling it, shaping the government’s policies without being held accountable for them, taking credit for its successes and escaping blame for any setbacks. Its triumph presents it with challenges of a different, more urgent, and less familiar sort. Hamas suddenly finds itself on the front line, with decisions to make and relations to manage with the world, international donors, Israel, Fatah, and, indeed, its own varied constituents. The Islamists may have secretly expected to sweep the elections but, if so, that secret remains well kept. Referring to Iraq, President Bush once spoke of America’s catastrophic success. Judging from the Islamists’ initial, startled reactions to their triumph, this may well be theirs.

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How Internal Efforts to Ban the Abuse and Torture of Detainees was Thawrted in America

Annals of the Pentagon

The Memo
By Jane Mayer
The New Yorker

How an internal effort to ban the abuse and torture of detainees was thwarted.

Issue of 2006-02-27
Posted 2006-02-20

One night this January, in a ceremony at the Officers’ Club at Fort Myer, in Arlington, Virginia, which sits on a hill with a commanding view across the Potomac River to the Washington Monument, Alberto J. Mora, the outgoing general counsel of the United States Navy, stood next to a podium in the club’s ballroom. A handsome gray-haired man in his mid-fifties, he listened with a mixture of embarrassment and pride as his colleagues toasted his impending departure. Amid the usual tributes were some more pointed comments.

“Never has there been a counsel with more intellectual courage or personal integrity,? David Brant, the former head of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, said. Brant added somewhat cryptically, “He surprised us into doing the right thing.? Conspicuous for his silence that night was Mora’s boss, William J. Haynes II, the general counsel of the Department of Defense.

Back in Haynes’s office, on the third floor of the Pentagon, there was a stack of papers chronicling a private battle that Mora had waged against Haynes and other top Administration officials, challenging their tactics in fighting terrorism. Some of the documents are classified and, despite repeated requests from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee, have not been released. One document, which is marked “secret? but is not classified, is a twenty-two-page memo written by Mora. It shows that three years ago Mora tried to halt what he saw as a disastrous and unlawful policy of authorizing cruelty toward terror suspects.

The memo is a chronological account, submitted on July 7, 2004, to Vice Admiral Albert Church, who led a Pentagon investigation into abuses at the U.S. detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It reveals that Mora’s criticisms of Administration policy were unequivocal, wide-ranging, and persistent. Well before the exposure of prisoner abuse in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison, in April, 2004, Mora warned his superiors at the Pentagon about the consequences of President Bush’s decision, in February, 2002, to circumvent the Geneva conventions, which prohibit both torture and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.? He argued that a refusal to outlaw cruelty toward U.S.-held terrorist suspects was an implicit invitation to abuse. Mora also challenged the legal framework that the Bush Administration has constructed to justify an expansion of executive power, in matters ranging from interrogations to wiretapping. He described as “unlawful,? “dangerous,? and “erroneous? novel legal theories granting the President the right to authorize abuse. Mora warned that these precepts could leave U.S. personnel open to criminal prosecution.

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Bearded Arabs 1; American ladies 0

Bearded Arabs 1; American ladies 0

The Daily Star
Saturday, February 25, 2006

By Rami G. Khouri

Nothing better captures the broad lines of the great contestation that now defines the Middle East than the four very telegenic characters who have crisscrossed the region during the past week: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, her colleague in charge of U.S. public policy, Karen Hughes, Hamas official Khaled Meshaal and the young Iraqi cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Their travels have been closely followed by the news media, which instinctively recognize a gladiatorial battle for the future when they see it, as is the case here.

Two of these four Middle Eastern itinerant ideologues are slick, appointed American political figures who spend many of their waking hours preaching the benefits of democratic elections in the Arab world. Two others are bearded Arab Islamists who have come to power through the American-supported vehicle of democratic elections in the Arab world. It would seem to be a match made in heaven: bearded Arab politicos who wish to expand their own efficient constituencies and militias into governing systems that enhance the wellbeing of their fellow citizens; and the American ladies who combine the bouncy enthusiasm of young high school cheerleaders with the more daring inclination to engage in political genetic engineering in order to enhance the wellbeing of Arab citizens and the security of Americans, in one fell swoop.

This convergence and happy ideological marriage has not happened. Instead, Rice and Hughes, when they are not preaching democracy for Arabs, spend the few remaining hours of their days fighting the incumbency of democratically elected Arabs. In response, elected bearded Arab politicos like Meshaal, the head of Hamas’ Political Bureau, and Sadr, who leads a powerful Shiite movement and militia in Iraq, increase their legitimacy and their impact through two parallel routes. They engage in electoral politics by being more responsive and accountable to the needs of their constituents, and they generate wider emotional and political appeal by defying Washington and its policies and presence in the Middle East.

The likelihood is that this past week will go down in the record books as one in which the American ladies significantly lost ground to the bearded Arabs. This is due to the simple reason that both the style and substance of American policies run sharply counter to the sentiments of ordinary Arabs, while the Meshaal-Sadr school of politics caters directly to ordinary people’s powerful emotional and political needs.

Rice’s trip to four Arab capitals embodies the explicit American diplomatic drive to convince Arab governments to quarantine Hamas and starve the Palestinians of aid funds, until Hamas changes its views and actions vis-a-vis Israel. This policy will be rejected by all Arab governments, and is also likely to set back Washington’s standing in the region more than any other action in recent years, even the unpopular Iraq war. That is because opposition to Hamas touches on and sharply inflames several deep nerves that already form the foundation of widespread skepticism about American foreign policy in the Arab world and internationally.

The first is the sense that the United States is neither serious nor consistent about promoting democracy. The second is that it fights mightily against Arabs or others in the region who try to manifest their identity through expressions of Islamism. The third is that Washington wages vigorous battles against any Arabs, Muslims, or others in the world who dare to resist Israel’s occupation and subjugation of Arabs, in Palestine and elsewhere. The fourth is that Washington treats sovereign Arab governments with contempt, expecting them to ignore their own public opinion and bend to America’s desires at the snap of a finger.

Not surprisingly, the trend of public opinion and political sentiments on the ground throughout the Middle East has been in favor of mainstream Islamists who simultaneously accept democratic pluralism, defy the U.S., resist Israeli occupation and colonization, and demand less corruption and more efficient governance at home. So Hamas, Hizbullah, the Muslim Brotherhood and movements like Sadr’s are winning elections, even when America-friendly governments such as Egypt’s restrict their freedom of movement.

Meshaal’s and Sadr’s travels around the Middle East this week were more like a victory lap than anything else. We must challenge some of their past behavior and future plans, to be sure. But we must also admit that these Islamist leaders have more legitimacy in the Middle East than all of Rice’s and Hughes’ copious democratic rhetoric, and all the Marines in Mesopotamia put together.

What to do instead? Elected democratic incumbents in Washington, Palestine, Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Egypt and elsewhere should engage honestly, to move toward a common middle ground where Arab, Iranian, Turkish, European and American policies could happily coexist. This desirable terrain would include indigenous religious and social values, universal good governance standards, global principles that assert national sovereignty and reject colonial occupation, and legitimate leaders who have both the political credibility and the managerial capacity to synchronize all these factors into sensible, sustainable policies. High-profile American officials should explore this more humane, mutually beneficial approach during their visits to our convoluted lands, rather than mainly lecture and offend us.

This week’s score: bearded Arabs 1, American ladies 0.

Rami G. Khouri writes a regular commentary for The Daily Star.

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Interview with Robert Keeley: US Foreign Policy towards the Middle East

“We need to talk to them”

A former U.S. ambassador who met with Hamas leaders on a recent Middle East trip says the Bush administration urgently needs more diplomacy.

By Kathleen Haley

Feb. 25, 2006 | Robert Keeley is an outspoken critic of George W. Bush’s Middle East policies. He also believes in the importance of diplomacy. That’s why the retired U.S. diplomat met with Middle East leaders that the Bush administration condemns.

Keeley, a former U.S. ambassador to Greece, Zimbabwe and Mauritius, was one of seven members of a delegation that observed the Palestinian elections last month and traveled to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. They were the first former American diplomats to meet with Hamas members. They also met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, Lebanese President Emile Lahoud and Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League.

The delegation was organized by the Council for the National Interest, a group that is highly critical of U.S. policy in the Middle East, in particular what it regards as America’s unbalanced support for Israel. CNI, which contains both a nonprofit lobby and an educational foundation, was founded by Paul Findley, a former Republican congressman from Illinois who lost his seat in 1982 after he was targeted by AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israeli lobby.

Salon talked with Keeley about his visit to the Middle East in a recent telephone interview.

Your delegation met with major Hamas leaders, including Mahmoud al-Zahar, Shaikh Naif Rajoub and Khaled Mashaal. Your group also met with many other leaders in the Middle East, including the presidents of Lebanon and Syria. How was your delegation received by these leaders?

Well, they were, I would say, more than welcoming. They were eager to have Americans they could talk to. We were horrified in a way that we had had such easy access. Because that means that other people did not have access, or are not bothering to try to get access. These people are rather desperate to get their message out, and to talk to Americans. I suppose they thought we might be sympathetic, but they didn’t necessarily know exactly what our views were. They gave us lots of time; they were never hurried.

Was that how you were also received by the Hamas leaders? Were they also eager [to meet with you]?

Yes, they were. Hamas is on the list of terrorist organizations, meaning that official Americans can’t talk to them. I don’t know how much the U.S. media people talk to them — I don’t think enough. They’ve decided they want to go into politics. They have made attacks on Israel — violent attacks, sometimes against civilians, what we label as terrorism. I don’t dispute that. But they declared a truce a year ago, and they’ve honored that. So I think they’ve earned what they won. And they were very eager to show a moderate face — that they’ve decided to go into politics and try to achieve their goals through peaceful means, rather than through violence. I would hope that they get a broad spectrum of people joining in, so that it isn’t just a Hamas government. There are other tendencies and other viewpoints amongst the Palestinians.

Hamas does not recognize Israel. What approach do you think Israel should take with Hamas?

Well, it’s not a question of not recognizing. They don’t recognize Israel as it exists. If Hamas is going to talk to Israel, they obviously have to talk to somebody that exists; they can’t pretend they don’t exist. The question is: Where? What is your territory? What are your borders? What are your intentions? Obviously, if they’re going to have a settlement, they have to agree that the other side of the settlement exists.

As regards borders: What is your position on the so-called separation barrier, or the “wall,” which goes beyond the “Green Line” marking the 1967 borders and caves off large portions of Palestinian land? The U.S. has supported it; the International Court of Justice has condemned it.

According to international law, and the Geneva Conventions, and U.N. Security Council resolutions like 242, you’re not allowed to acquire land by military force, by military means, by occupation. If the wall were being built along the Green Line, I don’t think there would be as strong an objection to it. It wouldn’t be impinging on Palestinian land. Furthermore, it wouldn’t be isolating Palestinian cities, towns and villages from each other, and from communicating with other parts of the West Bank.

The other problem is whether Israel — although it doesn’t say so — really intends that to be the permanent border. If that’s the case, then Israel has acted unilaterally and has decided what the borders are going to be. The wall separates Israelis from Palestinians, but it also incorporates major Israeli settlements on the Israeli side of the wall. This makes people think that Israel is planning to incorporate those settlement areas eventually as part of Israel, that is, annex the land.

In regard to the settlements, in April 2004, Bush wrote a letter in which he changed a long-standing U.S. position on Israeli settlements by saying that “realities on the ground” meant that large Israeli settlements on the West Bank would remain. What’s your opinion of that?

I don’t think it was a good move. And it was a definite change in our policy. Originally, way back in the Carter administration, and previously, we considered those settlements on the West Bank and in Gaza, on Palestinian land, to be illegal. Later, the formula began to change. With President Reagan, they had great difficulty in the State Department, and elsewhere, preparing a position paper for the new administration because President Reagan was much more sympathetic to Israel. He didn’t want to say the settlements were illegal. He said they were a difficulty, or an obstacle, in the final negotiations. Later on, under George Bush senior, it became still somewhat different — I don’t remember the exact formula — it was that their future was to be settled through negotiations and so forth. In other words, they were no longer declared to be illegal or even improper. Under President Clinton [the policy] was further transformed. And again, [the Israeli settlements] became part of the final settlement negotiations between the two sides. And [the U.S.] didn’t take a strongly negative position on them.

What George W. Bush did was to, in effect, prejudge these negotiations and say, obviously some of these settlements have to be part of Israel as part of a final settlement deal. In other words, there’s nothing to negotiate about them — it has already been decided they’re going to be part of Israel.

What position do you think the Bush administration should take on [Kadima Party head and acting and presumed next Israeli prime minister] Ehud Olmert’s announced plan (which follows Ariel Sharon’s presumed intentions) to proceed unilaterally with withdrawals from some West Bank settlements, but keep the big settlement blocs on the West Bank and refuse to give up East Jerusalem?

The same thing I’ve been saying applies — that these unilateral decisions preempt any final settlement negotiations. I don’t think those unilateral actions are going to achieve a peaceful settlement because they’re taken by one side without reference to the other side.

Most observers see Jerusalem, in particular, as a “red line” for the Palestinians — i.e., that if they are not allowed to establish a capital in East Jerusalem there will be no peace. Do you think the Bush administration should be pressuring Israel to negotiate on Jerusalem?

On Jerusalem, that’s one of those four issues that I mentioned are supposed to be settled in the final status negotiations. Israel has already, again unilaterally, annexed all of expanded Jerusalem. First of all, it extended the borders of what is the city of Jerusalem, including a lot of West Bank territory, where they’ve established Israeli settlements, going up toward Ramallah in the north and down toward Bethlehem in the south. In other words, they enlarged the city. Then they annexed the whole city, including East Jerusalem, including the Old City, as part of Israel. And [the Israelis] have repeatedly said that this is the permanent, undivided and sole capital of Israel.

That is, no doubt, the most difficult issue of all in this conflict. And it extends well beyond the Palestinians because part of the Old City — the Dome of the Rock, what they call the Haram al-Sharif — is a sacred, holy site for Muslims throughout the world.

How much does the U.S. support for Israel hurt us with the Arab and Muslim world? What effect has it had on the fight against terror?

In my opinion, we’ve pursued a very one-sided policy. And it seems one-sided in the Arab world. That is, we give pretty much unbending support to Israel. I think the Arabs see us as being very biased in favor of one side in a dispute that is between Israel and the Arabs, and between Israel and the Palestinians. In my opinion, if you want to act as an honest broker, you have to be much more evenhanded.

Why do you think the Bush administration has tilted so strongly toward Israel?

I think there are some very influential people in the administration — particularly around Vice President Cheney, on his staff, and some of the people working on the National Security Council, and even some in the State Department — who have a long record of being very pro-Israel activists. They have been advocating policies that are beneficial to Israel, and they have a major influence.

Is the U.S. saber rattling over Syria productive or counterproductive?

I don’t think it’s productive. I think we need to talk to them. I’m a retired diplomat, and of course I believe in diplomacy. What we found on our trip was that there was not enough diplomacy going on and not enough exchange of views. We should be talking to people, even people we disagree with. If you don’t talk to them, there’s no way you’re going to diminish the problems you have with them, or find any solutions.

Based on the things you’ve learned from your trip, what are your recommendations regarding U.S. policies in the Middle East?

I have a specific recommendation. This came to us originally from Amr Moussa, the secretary-general of the Arab League. The Arab League had a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, in March 2002. Crown Prince Abdullah, who is now King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, presented a peace proposal, directed at the U.S. and Israel. It was an offer for all the Arab states to recognize Israel de jure, that is, with full diplomatic relations, with no question about Israel’s legitimacy, if Israel were willing to withdraw to the 1967 borders and permit the Palestinians to create a Palestinian sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza, with East Jerusalem as their capital.

The Arab League made a major concession on the question of the Palestinian refugees outside the territory. They said that this is a problem that should be negotiated with Israel in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194, which is an old resolution about the refugees going back to 1948, 1949. Resolution 194 says that they should be permitted to return to their homes, or be compensated for loss of property if they didn’t return home. The Arab League wasn’t saying all the Palestinian refugees had to go back to Israel; it said the refugee issue could be solved by negotiation.

The U.S. and the Israelis totally ignored this; we didn’t answer it, we didn’t comment on it. I would say let’s go back and look at that.

— By Kathleen Haley

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