Arab League chief warns no Middle East peace deal without Palestinian state

A Palestinian man holding a poster with the crossed-out face of US president Donald Trump walks in front of a mural of activist Ahed Tamimi along Israel's controversial separation barrier, which divides the occupied West Bank from Jerusalem. (AFP)
Updated 23 June 2019
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Arab League chief warns no Middle East peace deal without Palestinian state

  • US-led conference will be held next week in Bahrain on proposals for the Palestinian economy
  • The Palestinian leadership is boycotting the conference

CAIRO: The head of the Arab League warned Monday that attempts to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict will be in vain without the establishment of a Palestinian state on all territories occupied by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit’s comments appeared directed at a still unpublished peace plan that Donald Trump has dubbed the “deal of the century.” As part of the plan, a US-led conference will be held next week in Bahrain on proposals for the Palestinian economy.
The Palestinian leadership is boycotting the conference, saying Trump’s peace plan is likely to be heavily weighted in favor of Israel and to quash their aspirations for statehood in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
While the precise outlines of the draft plan have yet to be revealed, Palestinian and Arab sources who have been briefed on it say it jettisons the two-state solution.
“Whatever is rejected by the Palestinian or the Arab side is unacceptable,” Aboul Gheit said during an event at the Arab League.
“What is acceptable from our side as Arabs as a solution is the establishment of a Palestinian state on the June 4, 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital,” he added.
Aboul Gheit said that Israel’s acceptance of an Arab Peace Initiative drawn up by Saudi Arabia in 2002, which offers Israel normal ties in return for withdrawal from territory captured in 1967, was the only acceptable solution for Arab states.
“If (Israel) chooses the only reasonable and accepted way from our side as Arabs, which is the establishment of a Palestinian state ... it will be accepted in the region as a normal regional partner,” he said.
Last week, a White House official said Egypt, Jordan and Morocco planned to attend the Bahrain conference.
Palestinians urged Egypt and Jordan to reconsider their attendance at the US-led conference in Bahrain, voicing concern it would weaken any Arab opposition to Washington’s coming peace plan.


Stena Impero operator says tanker’s crew safe and well

Updated 6 min 12 sec ago
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Stena Impero operator says tanker’s crew safe and well

  • ‘... they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board the vessel’

STOCKHOLM: All 23 crew on a British-flagged tanker seized last week by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz are safe and well, the vessel’s Swedish operator Stena Bulk said on Wednesday after speaking to them.

Iran said on Saturday it had seized the Stena Impero because it had collided with a fishing boat. Stena Bulk has said it has received no evidence of such a collision.

“We had direct contact with the crew on board the vessel last night by telephone and they’re all okay and in good health and they’re getting good cooperation with the Iranians on board,” the firm’s spokesman Pat Adamson said.

Its CEO Erik Hanell said he hoped Tuesday’s contact was “a first sign that we will soon see more positive progress from the Iranian authorities.”

Britain described the seizure as piracy and called on Monday for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait, a strategic waterway for oil transportation.

Adamson said the next step for the operator would be to try and get somebody on board to check up on the crew, but that he had no timeline for when the crew might be repatriated.

“We haven’t had any direct response from the Iranian authorities about visiting the vessel as yet but we hope we will have that soon,” he said.

“All the appropriate governments and embassies are supporting and helping us.”