Arabs vs. the Abdullah Plan (Middle East Quarterly)


The 2002 Arab peace initiative, commonly referred to as the "Abdullah plan" after its chief author, then-Saudi crown prince Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz, constitutes the most significant and explicit collective Arab declaration in favor of a peaceful, mutually agreed-on resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict ever made. By adopting the plan at the March 2002 League of Arab States's Beirut summit and reaffirming it in Riyadh in 2007, the collective Arab position towards the conflict has been modified in the direction of a more explicit recognition of Israel. Notwithstanding the ambiguities of the declaration, especially on the issue of Palestinian refugees, a shift is discernable. From complete rejection (the "Three Nos" of the 1967 Khartoum summit) to qualified acceptance (the 1982 Fez summit) to the current expressed willingness to declare an end to the conflict and establish normal relations with Israel, the Arab states have moved to an officially proclaimed acceptance of the reality of a Jewish state in the region. Attaining a proper understanding of the initiative, however, requires an examination of the larger contexts in which it was forged.