Palestinian official says Arab states should honor Arab Peace Initiative
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Palestinian official says Arab states should honor Arab Peace Initiative

Top negotiator Erekat appears to criticize Oman and the UAE for opening their doors to Israeli officials before 2-state deal achieved

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Saeb Erekat speaks to journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 1, 2018. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
Saeb Erekat speaks to journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on September 1, 2018. (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

In an apparent jab at Arab states for hosting Israeli officials, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday said the Arab world should remain committed to the Arab Peace Initiative.

“Arab countries must honor the Arab Peace Initiative,” Erekat said in a tweet.

The Arab Peace Initiative calls on Israel to agree a two-state solution along the 1967 lines and a “just” solution to the Palestinian refugee issue in exchange for Arab nations subsequently normalizing relations with it and declaring the Arab-Israeli conflict over.

Erekat’s tweet came as some Arab countries have been opening their doors to Israeli officialdom even though the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians appears to be at a standstill.

Last Thursday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Muscat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) talks with Sultan Qaboos bin Said in Oman on October 26, 2018.(Courtesy)

The last known visit of an Israeli prime minister to Oman took place more than two decades ago.

Senior Ramallah-based Palestinian officials have largely remained silent on Netanyahu’s visit to Oman, which took place days after PA President Mahmoud Abbas traveled to the Gulf country.

“We are refraining from commenting on Netanyahu’s visit because we do not want to start fights with our Omani brothers,” said a Palestine Liberation Organization official, who asked to remain unnamed. “We don’t believe that is in our interest.”

For its part, Hamas condemned the Israeli and Omani leaders’ meeting.

In the past few days, Culture Minister Miri Regev also attended part of the Abu Dhabi Judo Grand Slam in the United Arab Emirates and visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque there.

At the sporting event, the Israeli national anthem was sounded after two Israeli judokas won gold medals.

Other government ministers are expected to arrive in the UAE and Oman in the coming days.

Communications Minister Ayoub Kara is slated to fly to Dubai on Monday for an international telecommunications conference.

Transportation and Intelligence Minister Israel Katz is also scheduled to embark on a visit to Oman next week to attend an international transportation conference.

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