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Obama's Palestine, Peace Vision

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CAIRO – US President Barack Obama wants an independent, democratic, contiguous but demilitarized Palestinian state with Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) as its capital within the next four years.

Israel\'s mass-circulation Yediot Ahronot reported on Wednesday, May 20, that Obama wants a sovereign and contiguous Palestinian state within four years.

The proposed state will have Al-Quds (occupied East Jerusalem) as its capital with the Old City would become an international zone under UN control.

The Palestinian state would not have its own army and would be forbidden from making military agreements with other states in order to appease Israel\'s security concerns.

The issue of borders would be solved with territorial exchanges between Israel and the Palestinians.

According to Yediot, the plan would require the Palestinians to give up their right of return to homes and properties in what is now Israel.

Europe and the US would arrange compensation for refugees, including foreign passports for those residing abroad.

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) defines as refugees the descendants of Palestinian who fled or were forced out of their homes by better-equipped Zionist militants in 1948 when Israel was built on the rubble of Palestine.

UN resolutions guarantee the right of return of Palestinian refugees, many still holding the keys and titles of their homes in what is now Israel.

Obama is expected to present the initiative in his much-awaited address to the Arab and Muslim world from Cairo next month.


Comprehensive Peace

The plan, outlined in consultation with Jordanian King Abdullah II during his recent visit to the White House, calls for simultaneous talks between Israel and the Palestinians, and Syria and Lebanon.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday he told Obama he was willing to launch peace talks with the Palestinians and Syria immediately.

\"I said that I was ready to immediately begin peace talks with the Palestinians and with Syria,\" the hawkish premier told journalists upon his return from a three-day US trip.

\"We also agreed on the need to expand the peace process to Arab states,\" he said, asserting that Arab states \"should also make concrete concessions from the start.\"

Yediot says that under the Obama plan when talks come to an agreement on Palestinian statehood, diplomatic and economic relations would be established between Israel and Arab states.

The Obama plan reportedly builds on the pan-Arab peace initiative proposed and endorsed in the 2002 Beirut Arab summit.

The initiative offers Israel normal relations will all Arab counties in return for its full withdrawal from all Arab land and a just solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees.

King Abdullah asserted recently that the Obama administration was working on a comprehensive approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict offering Israel recognition by Arab and Muslim countries in exchange for talks on all peace tracks.

\"The future is not the Jordan River or the Golan Heights or Sinai, the future is Morocco in the Atlantic to Indonesia in the Pacific,\" he said.

\"That is a very strong statement when we are offering a third of the world to meet them with open arms.\"

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