Arab Council for Regional Integration Responds to the Trump Peace Plan

On January 28, 2020, the long-awaited Trump Peace Plan was unrolled in a White House press conference alongside Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. The Arab Council for Regional Integration responded promptly to the plan in a communique released from Cairo a day later. It was subsequently published in newspapers across North Africa and the Middle East, and appeared in policy institute surveys of Arab responses to the Trump plan. The following is the text of the Arab Council’s statement:

“The 24 hours since the release of the Trump peace plan yesterday have witnessed an outpouring of emotion on the streets of some of our capitals. On the one hand, the anger conveyed in these demonstrations does not reflect a considered view of the content of the 80-page White House proposal, and questions can and should be raised about the organizers of the demonstrations and their motives.

“On the other hand, let no one doubt the genuineness of feeling and energy which protesters have shown. They want Palestinians to achieve their legitimate aspiration to justice, statehood, and prosperity. They also want to achieve their own rights and secure their own families and future. The Arab Council for Regional Integration shares in these feelings, and continues to chart its innovative course toward realizing the same set of goals.

“There is no way forward but through dialogue and engagement among all parties to our region’s conflicts — whether between Israelis and their many neighbors, or among neighbors in a given town who differ in sect, ethnicity, or ideology. The same may be said of the vast gap in understanding between political leaders in Washington and those young people in various Arab countries who have taken to the streets to denounce them.

“Only through an expansive process of civil engagement can these divisions be bridged. If we liberate civil society to engage the other side on the basis of reasoning and persuasion, new outcomes become possible. If we forswear engagement and maintain a policy of shunning and isolation, only tragedy awaits.

“These principles have bearing on government and nongovernment affairs alike. The Arab Council notes that the value of the White House event was substantially diminished by the presence of only one party to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The initiative only becomes viable if it develops to include a broader representation of actors, including European, Arab, and Palestinian leaders, who will share their views about the substance of the document and chart a way forward consensually.

“In the meantime, acting on the level of civil society, we look forward to bringing our core message to Paris and Washington, where we will address some of the most influential leaders and institutions in the world. We will make our case to unleash the capacity of Arabs in every sector to serve as civil ambassadors of conviction, conscience, and goodwill.”

Thirteen days later, an Arab Council delegation to Paris gave testimony at the French National Assembly.

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