The London-based Al Hayat newspaper has reported that the Palestine issue will return to the UN Security Council based on an agreement with EU countries to change the formula for the peace process. According to its correspondent in Ramallah and the AFP news agency, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby said that he and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas discussed joint Arab political steps that should be taken after Palestine secured non-member state representation at the United Nations, in order to implement Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian land occupied since 1967. “Our next move, in agreement with the Palestinians and with full support from the Arab countries and the European Union, is to change the current formula [for the peace process]. We cannot continue with the methods of the last 20 years. It was a waste of time,” he said.
Elaraby arrived for a visit to Ramallah on Saturday, accompanied by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr; the visit is regarded as a “first”. Elaraby, Amr and Abbas discussed the Palestinian Authority’s financial crisis and the opportunities for Arab financial support, as well as the political steps that should be taken now that Palestine has observer status at the UN.
In a joint press conference with Amr and the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad El-Malki, Mr. Elaraby said that in the coming days he will be in contact with Arab countries to discuss their commitments to provide an economic safety net of $100 million per month for the PA. Such support, he pointed out, has been promised but not delivered. Elaraby said that the Arab foreign ministers will pay a group visit to Ramallah, coordinated by the Arab League.
According to Egypt’s Foreign Minister, his country’s support of Palestine at the United Nations “is a duty, not a favour”; he insisted that the world recognises that Palestinian land is occupied, not merely “disputed”. Mr. Amr added that President Mohamed Morsi has invited Mahmoud Abbas to visit Cairo as soon as possible to re-launch the Palestinian reconciliation project.
London’s Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper noted that Elaraby and Amr toured the West Bank with the PA Prime Minister in Ramallah, Salam Fayyad, who briefed the Arab League and Egyptian delegation about the areas where the Palestinians are suffering as a result of Israeli settlements and the separation wall that splits the occupied West Bank. The Arab League’s Secretary General was also handed a letter detailing the conditions of Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails.