Arabs seek unified peace approach

Arab foreign ministers meet to discuss a new approach in handling Midlle East peace.

    Aboul Gheit, right, is to host the first of many high meetings with the goal of Middle East peace [AP]

    The Arab League will strive "to obtain a decision from the United Nations General Assembly to task the International Court of Justice to examine Israeli violations in Jerusalem," the statement said.

    Israeli violations are considered to include the expansion of Jewish settlements, land confiscations and home demolitions in east Jerusalem.

    The court, which is based in The Hague, is the principal judicial arm of the United Nations.

    The ICJ issued a non-binding resolution in 2004 calling for parts of an Israeli barrier that which partly runs through the occupied West Bank to be torn down and for construction there to cease.

    Opposite demands

    The meeting comes after two separate peace initiatives emerged from Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Tony Blair, the Middle East Quartet's envoy.

    But both peace initiatives express opposite demands.

    The Palestinian Authority, of which Abbas is the head, insists that Jerusalem should become the capital of a future Palestinian state, while Israelis consider it their capital and both sides claim the city was in their ownership from biblical times.

    Israel annexed east Jerusalem after capturing the city in the Six Day War of 1967, declaring the city its "eternal, undivided capital" and the move has not been recognised by the international community.

    Israeli settlements in east Jerusalem, which the ICJ has said violate international law, are home to roughly 200,000 Jewish settlers.

    Palestinians also demand that Israel should dismantles the illegal Jewish settlements as well as recognise the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

    Israel insists that the refugees' return would threaten their identity as a Jewish state, as Arabs would potentially outnumber Jews.

    Israel also says the barrier of concrete and steel is necessary to guard against Palestinian attacks while Palestinians say it is a land grab that undermines their future state.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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