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The Beirut Declaration: 2002 Arab League Peace Initiative (Full Text)

Call for Two-State Solution and Recognition of Israel's Right to Exist

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Meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, the 22-nation Arab League endorsed a seven-point peace initiative that recognized Israel's right to exist within the 1967 international borders recognized by the United Nations, in exchange for a set of conditions leading to an independent Palestinian state.

The initiative was put forth by Saudi Arabia and garnered unanimous approval, including from such hard-line countries as Libya and what was then Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Ironically, a day after the Arab League adopted the Beirut Declaration, Israeli tanks surrounded Yasser Arafat in his compound in Ramallah, in the Occupied West Bank, in retaliation for a suicide bombing and the on-going second intifada.

Following is the official and complete text of the peace initiative endorsed on March 28, 2002, by the Arab League in Beirut, Lebanon:

The Council of the League of Arab States at the summit level, at its 14th ordinary session:

Beirut Declaration

REAFFIRMING the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo extraordinary Arab summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government.

HAVING LISTENED to the statement made by His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in which his highness presented his initiative, calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land-for-peace principle, and Israel's acceptance of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.

EMANATING FROM the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:

1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.

2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:

a. Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967, as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

b. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194.

c. The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign, independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June, 1967, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

a. Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

b. Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

4. Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.

5. Calls upon the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept this initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness and provide future generations with security, stability and prosperity.

6. Invites the international community and all countries and organizations to support this initiative.

7. Requests the chairman of the summit to form a special committee composed of some of its concerned member states and the secretary general of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the Security Council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim states and the European Union.

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