Yoav Stern
March 30, 2009 - 12:00am

Arab leaders in Qatar for the Arab League summit sent Israel an ultimatum Sunday: Accept the Saudi Peace Initiative or it will be rescinded.

The draft proposal of the statement states: "The peace initiative being proposed today will not be on offer for a long time. Arab commitment to this initiative is dependent on Israeli acceptance."

The draft proposal was formulated by the Arab foreign ministers, and will be presented to the Arab League's leaders Monday for approval.

The wording is a compromise between the hardline Arab countries, mainly Syria and Qatar, and the moderates, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Egypt is to be represented at the summit by a very low-level official after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit declined to participate, reportedly due to anger at Qatar for making overtures to Hamas. Egypt has demanded Qatar not invite Iranian President Mohammed Ahmadinejad to the summit, and stop its criticism of Egypt on the Al-Jazeera network, which began after Operation Cast Lead.

Most reports over the past week indicated that Ahmadinejad would not come to the summit, although he could still show up by surprise.

Sudan's president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, arrived in Qatar on Sunday despite a warrant for his arrest issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague, on charges of involvement in the massacre of his countrymen in Darfur.

Palestinian Authority sources said they hoped the summit would not widen the breach among Palestinians, and called on Arab leaders to support the PLO and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta'al) will be attending meetings associated with the summit. Speaking by phone from Doha, he told Haaretz that he had met with officials from Yemen and other Gulf countries. "My opinion, which is what I represent here, is that the international community must force Israel to accept the two-state solution and work to establish a Palestinian state, and if not, a diplomatic price should be paid," Tibi said.


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