Arab League issues Doha Communiqué

May 29, 2011

The Arab League released a statement last night announcing that it will seek full U.N. membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as its capital. The declaration came after a meeting of the Ministerial Committee on the Arab Peace Initiative in Doha, chaired by Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al-Thani.

The Committee made its decision after reviewing the speech delivered by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 19 and the subsequent response of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the U.S. Congress on May 24, according to the Qatar News Agency (QNA) and the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA).

The statement expressed appreciation for the position of President Obama that peace should be based on a two-state solution according to the pre-1967 borders. However, it rejected the assertions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, claiming that he “interrupted the path towards making any progress in the achievement of peace according to the legitimate international resolutions.” The statement warned, “The Committee holds Israel fully responsible for the continuance of its settlement activities, particularly in (occupied) East Jerusalem as a substitute for peace, and in the face of international unanimity on the illegitimacy of constructing settlements, while calling on the U.S. Congress to revise its stances, and keep to a balanced attitude to protect U.S. interests and its role in achieving peace.”

The Committee called upon the Israeli government to “accept the frames of reference of the peace process, including the land for peace principle and the two-state solution based on the frontiers of 1967 along with stopping settlement construction as the only way for resuming the final status negotiations which have been long stressed by the Palestinian side.”

During his address to the Ministerial Committee, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed little hope that peace talks with the current Israeli government could be revived any time soon. “We see from the conditions that Netanyahu laid out that there are no shared foundations . . . for negotiations,” he said.

Referring to the breakdown of U.S.-brokered talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians last September, Prime Minister Al-Thani stated, “In these circumstances, it seems better to me that we freeze discussion of the peace process until there is a partner ready for peace.”

The Arab League will request membership for the state of Palestine at the U.N. General Assembly’s meeting in New York in September, Reuters has reported.