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ME Peace Process Is Dead: Moussa
by Arab News (reposted)
Saturday Jul 15th, 2006 11:16 PM
CAIRO, 16 July 2006 — Foreign ministers of 18 Arab countries passed a unanimous resolution yesterday calling on the UN Security Council to intervene to stop escalating Mideast fighting.
“The Middle East peace process has failed. The whole process should now be sent back to the Security Council for a complete overhaul,” said Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa. “We are going to the Security Council — this is a unanimous position — to discuss the whole situation from scratch,” he said.

“If the Security Council fails, nobody knows what might happen next,” he added, pronouncing the whole Mideast peace process “dead.”

Meanwhile, Israel yesterday killed at least 32 civilians, including 15 children, in airstrikes meant to punish Hezbollah.

Israel’s bombing of Lebanese roads, bridges, ports and airports, as well as Hezbollah targets, is its most destructive onslaught since its1982 invasion to expel Palestinian forces.

An Israeli missile incinerated a van in south Lebanon, killing 21 people, among them15 children, in the deadliest single attack of the four-day-old campaign launched by Israel after Hezbollah captured two of its soldiers and killed eight others.

Police said the van was carrying two families fleeing the village of Marwaheen after Israeli loudspeaker warnings to leave their homes.

Also yesterday, Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal severely criticized some of the Arab leaders for making hasty and emotional decisions without considering what the negative outcomes of such decisions may be.

Prince Saud made the remarks in Cairo yesterday at the emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers, reported the Saudi Press Agency. The prince stressed that the very practice of hasty decision-making without proper understanding is the root cause of problems that Arabs are presently afflicted with, including loss of Arab land and the brutal Israeli occupation.

In his speech, Saud noted the way the international community was silent in the face of continuing Israeli excesses.

The prince said, “A large part of our efforts in the past has been spent in holding emergency meetings without making necessary preparations to face the challenges...decisions made during crises carry the stamp of hurry and emotion which mostly result in aggravating the crisis instead of providing a solution to it.”

The prince also pointed out that an objective analysis of the Arab situation over the past five decades shows that “impromptu and emotionally charged decisions without a deep understanding of the consequences” have led to “tragedy after tragedy including loss of land, occupation and civil wars.” Saud said, “Unless we agree that the time has come to get out of this ominous and vicious circle of making decisions that are taken under the shadow of crisis which only helps create fresh crises and aggravation, nothing will be achieved. The time has come to speak about matters openly even if they are painful.”

The prince also said that the Arab League was not a club to exchange empty clichés but a body to make military, political and economic treaties, adding that the league condemned the practice of a single party enforcing dictatorial decisions and not allowing other members to express their opinions.

“If the unilateral decision by a single country is unacceptable then what about an undisciplined and irresponsible single element inside a country taking decisions which not only involves that country alone but pushes the remaining countries as well into a blind adventure? It is totally unacceptable and this matter should be unambiguously clear to all,” he said.

He continued, “My government views that it is essential to open a new page in our joint action in a new style with a new spirit as we cannot continue by repeating the same mistake of burdening our patient people with the consequences of mistakes.”

He exhorted members to reach a wise decision instead of adding a new problem to the current crisis.

“We need to make rapid moves to put an end to the Israeli aggression in Lebanon and Palestine and make a call for the language of dialogue to prevail and an end to the violence,” he said.

The minister also stressed the need to offer support to the Lebanese government in its efforts to protect the interests of Lebanon and also to the Palestinian Authority in its efforts to bring the situation under control and to bring unity among its people.

by IOL (reposted)
Sunday Jul 16th, 2006 12:10 PM
CAIRO — The creaking railway carriage of peace has already derailed and there is no way of putting it back on track.

Arab League (AL) Chief Amr Moussa may have not been prescient when he voiced out the previous pessimistic statement Saturday evening, July15 , but he was just reacting to what he has seen during an emergency Arab Foreign Ministers' meeting at the Cairo-based Arab League.

The Arab Foreign Ministers did not like to go beyond an old Arab official position of denouncing Israel's aggressions and declaring support to the
"steadfastness" of the Lebanese resistance, repeating the hoary old clichés.

This has driven Moussa's hopes about peace to the Styx.

"All the mechanisms, including the (Middle East) quartet have failed the peace process or contributed to burying it. The only way to revive the peace process is to take it back to the Security Council," somber Moussa said.

Since Hizbullah took prisoner two Israeli soldiers on Wednesday, July12 , Israeli attacks on Lebanon have killed up to 100 people, including women and children, and rained destruction down on Beirut infrastructure.

Israel has also been leading a punishing air campaign in Gaza since an Israeli soldier was taken prisoner by Palestinian fighters on June25 , sparking the worst Israeli-Palestinian crisis in months.

Both Hizbullah and three Palestinian resistance groups, which claimed the prisoner-takings, have demanded the release of Lebanese and Palestinians, chiefly juveniles and women, in Israeli jails.

Cloyingly Divided

The Arab Foreign Ministers' pronouncements during the meeting were fraught with conflicting points of view reflecting the disintegrated overall Arab standing towards what is going on now in heavily-battered Lebanon.

Most divided of all were the Foreign Ministers of both Saudi Arabia and Syria who locked horns during the closed session of yesterday's meeting over Hizbullah.

"Some states have taken hasty decisions that weakened the Arab position," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mualem moaned in an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia which criticized the timing of Hizbullah operation, which took two Israeli soldiers prisoner and killed eight others, and held it responsible for the escalation.

"This is a blatant interference into the internal affairs of my country, something I totally reject," his Saudi counterpart Saud Al-Faisal groaned.

"Your dreams are devilish," Saud sniped.

"No, his dreams are rosy as the current Arab situation has no room for any uncalculated adventures," Mohamed Al-Sabah, Kuwait's Foreign Minister, jumped into the fray.

"Arab unity is the best thing we can reach," Mualem kicked back, "I feel deeply sorry for what has been expressed now."

Arab diplomatic sources said that the Arab Foreign Ministers were divided into two groups: one, containing Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority.

This first group voted for calming down tensions between the Lebanese and the Palestinians, on the one side, and Israel, on the other. They liked to label Hizbullah's position as "irresponsible".

The other group contained Syria, Algeria, Lebanon, Sudan, Yemen and Qatar.

This group was for standing by the side of the Lebanese and Palestinian resistance, who are struggling for the attainment of the legal rights of their peoples.

No Answer

The press conference that followed the meeting of the foreign ministers was full of questions but no answers.

This made it look like a trial of the Arab regimes which are not able to go beyond mere condemnation of the Israeli aggressions against Lebanon and Palestine.

Most journalists lashed strongly out at Arab summits which in most cases produced no results on the ground.

A journalist asked about what the Arabs will do, away from diplomatic channels, to stand up to the Israeli aggressions.

"Till when will more pieces of the Arab world continue to be sliced away from it?" a question went.

Moussa had no answer. "I can't answer till when," he said.

The discussions of the Arab Foreign Ministers in Cairo boiled down to a mere
"condemnation of the Israeli aggressions."

"Arab gatherings have always ended that way," commented many observers.

They even perceived a contradiction between Moussa's demand that the whole matter be referred to the Security Council and his "the international community has offered nothing to the Arabs".