On the eve of the Arab summit that is to open in Beirut (Lebanon) tomorrow, foreign ministers of the Arab League have held a session. A decision to grant financial aid at the rate of $55 million to the Palestinian Authority was made at the session. Transfer of the sum is to start on April 1 and last for six months. Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat treats the intention as a very promising one. However, Palestine would like to receive not only financial aid from the Arab nations, which is really of great use, but also considerable political support.
Al Jazeera, a Qatar-based TV company, announced a list of problems to be thoroughly discussed at the Arab summit. Special attention of the Arab leaders is to be paid to the following subjects: the demand to withdraw Israeli troops to the borders that had existed before the war occurred in June of 1967; solution of the problem connected with Palestinian refugees; creation of a Palestinian state with the capital situated in Eastern Jerusalem; a peace settlement and conflict cessation in the Middle East; appeal to Israel for review of its aggressive policy concerning the Palestinian people.
Restoration of the borders that existed in Israel before the year of 1967 is the cornerstone of the Saudi’s peaceful plan. The project has won lots of supporters, as well as opponents, Israel and some Arab states are among the latter. There is no solidarity among the parties concerning the problem, which may also entail the failure of the earlier achieved agreements.
Israel does not wish to create more problems for itself by the adoption of the Saudi plan. According to the plan, Israel is to withdraw its troops from occupied Palestinian territories, but the agreement the Arab world is going to sign is of no considerable value, as it can be easily broken any moment. Then, Israel will face a problem: the Arab world with its 300 million people in number versus Israel’s five million population.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon realizes this fact perfectly well. The other day, he said that Israel would not restore the 1967 borders to establish peace with the Palestinians.
Sharon said in the interview to Newsweek: “Israel will not be able to do it if it wises to survive.” At the same time, the prime minister spoke about the readiness to resume peaceful talks and strive for a cease fire. “Now, I am ready to negotiate a cease fire even under conditions when violence still occurs, which means breaking of my personal positions as well. We are to strive for a cease fire only after work on realization of the Tenet and Mitchell plans.” In Sharon’s words, Israel “may easily destroy the whole of the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure during a large-scale operation, but should realize what consequences it may bring.” No violence escalation can be allowed, as it was stressed by Ariel Sharon. He fears that a new front line can be created on Israel’s northern borders, where Hezbollah is building a terrorist infrastructure with the help of Iranian “leaders of Islamic revolution.” The other day, Hezbollah spiritual leaders said that the time when Islamic soldiers fought with the unfaithful in Palestine has passed away. There is no necessity for it nowadays, as Shakhids are numerous among the Palestinians. Financial aid is to be provided for Palestine, and armament is also to be delivered there. The problem of financial aid has been already settled, now it is necessary to consider the arms problem. Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
In the photo by BBC: Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa (to the right)
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/26/38801.html