Quoting Palestinian sources, the London-based Arabic language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported Wednesday that the leaders of the moderate Arab countries are revising the Saudi peace initiative in order to make it more acceptable to Israel.
According to the report, the leaders of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority have been working on a "clearer" initiative at the request of US President Barack Obama. The Arabs are working vigorously so that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will be able to present the revised proposal to Obama during their upcoming meeting in Washington.
The Palestinian sources told al-Quds al-Arabi that Jordan's King Abdullah, who recently met with Obama, promised to assist in drafting a new initiative that would "clarify the vague points" in the current plan and make it more acceptable to the US and Israel.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with King Abdullah on Monday to discuss the plan. Abdullah has updated Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on the development.
According to the Palestinian sources, the new initiative will call for the settling of Palestinian refugees in Arab countries and in a future Palestinian state, following a land swap with Israel. The US administration has also demanded that the Arab countries set a timetable for the normalization of their ties with Israel with the aim of encouraging Jerusalem to take practical steps towards the establishment of a Palestinian state, they added.
The issue of the Palestinian refugees' "right of return" to their homes in Israel has been one of the major points of disagreement between Israel and the Arab countries.
The sources were also quoted as saying that the initiative will enable the Israeli flag to be displayed in Arab countries, while Israel will allow the Palestinian flag to be hung in Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, which, according to the initiative, will be the capital of the Palestinian state. The UN flag will adorn sites in Jerusalem's Old City that are holy to the three major religions.
The Palestinians said the suggested amendments will require holding an Arab summit.