Abbas calls on Obama to enact Arab peace plan as soon as he takes office
It is the first time the Palestinian president has asked Obama to adopt the Arab peace plan.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is asking U.S. President-elect Barack Obama to implement an Arab peace plan as soon as he enters office.
Abbas spoke at an economic conference in the northern West Bank town of Nablus on Saturday.
It is the first time the Palestinian President has asked Obama to adopt the Arab peace plan.
The plan is referred to as the "Arab Initiative." It calls on Israel to withdraw from the West Bank, Gaza and parts of Jerusalem. It also calls on Israel to settle the issue of millions of Palestinian refugees.
In return, Arab and Muslim states will recognize Israel and have full relations.
This week Abbas took his case for peace directly to ordinary Israelis, assuring them that the Arab peace plan would bring them benefits.
Peace Now buys ads in Palestinian newspaper Peace Now, the Israeli leftist movement, published advertisements in a widely circulated Palestinian newspaper on Friday declaring its support for the Saudi peace plan.
The group paid for the ads to appear in Al-Quds, the popular Palestinian daily which is published in East Jerusalem, reciprocating a similar gesture made by the Palestinian Authority. On Thursday, the PA took out ads in Israeli newspapers urging the public to support the Saudi initiative, which calls for an Israeli withdrawal to the 1967 lines in exchange for normalized ties with the Arab world.
Peace Now secretary general Yariv Oppenheimer said the goal of the advertisement is to strengthen the peace camp on the Palestinian side. "We are of the mind that it is very important to respond to the Palestinian ads in Israeli newspapers with an advertisement of our own that will resonate on the Palestinian side," Oppenheimer said. "Both peace camps can feed off of each other."
MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List - Ta'al), who assisted the PA in arranging for the ads to appear in the Israeli print media, said similar notices were planned for newspapers across Europe and the United States. Tibi said the idea for the ads was initially proposed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The goal of the campaign was to ignite a public dialogue and to bypass the mainstream Israeli press which the Palestinians felt did not devote enough attention to the peace initiative, Tibi said.
"There is a sense that the public in Israel and the decision makers did not read the initiative and that the media did not give it a chance nor did it give it proper exposure, and so it was decided to publish advertisements," Tibi said.