Arab League to discuss Israeli elections at Cairo meeting

Nabil Elaraby says Palestinians should consider renewed request to Security Council to recognize Palestine

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby on March 25, 2014 (AFP/Yasser al-Zayyat)
Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby on March 25, 2014 (AFP/Yasser al-Zayyat)

The Arab League is expected to meet this week in Cairo to discuss, among other topics, the outcome of the Israeli elections and a possible renewed request to the United Nations Security Council by the Palestinians to recognize a Palestinian state.

According to a report in the Saudi paper Okaz, cited by Israel Radio Saturday, Arab foreign ministers are set to consider a Palestinian position paper addressing challenges presented by the reelection of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his recent comment ruling out the establishment of a Palestinian state, a remark he’s backtracked from.

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby told an Egyptian paper that the Palestinians should, in light of developments, mull a renewed request to the Security Council to consider a resolution recognizing a Palestinian state.

On Wednesday, Elaraby dismissed as electioneering Netanyahu’s vow to rule out a Palestinian state if reelected, saying there would be global pressure for a peace deal.

Netanyahu, whose Likud party won 30 seats in the 120-member parliament in Tuesday’s vote, had pledged to expand settlements in the West Bank and block creation of a Palestinian state if reelected. On Thursday, Netanyahu backtracked, saying he remained committed to a sustainable, peaceful two-state solution but warning that the situation in the Middle East at present made Palestinian statehood hard to envision.

Netanyahu’s statements would “not be the policies of the future Israeli government,” said Elaraby, the secretary-general of the 22-nation bloc in an interview with AFP. “We will have to wait and see,” he added.

“I believe personally that he made that statement about… no two states to gain the votes of the extremists, particularly those Russian immigrants who went to Israel in the last 10, 15 years,” Elaraby said.

Elaraby said he expected stalled peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which broke down last year amid mutual recriminations, to resume after the next Israeli government is formed.

“I think there will be enough pressure on any Israeli government that the situation as it is cannot continue; Israel is going to be a pariah,” he said.

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