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Arab Peace Initiative still Israel's best option

Israeli leaders who refuse to take up the Arab Peace Initiative are missing a historic chance for peace.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu touches the original flag Israeli paratroopers waved at the Western Wall during the 1967 Middle East War, before a special cabinet meeting marking Jerusalem Day at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem May 28, 2014. Jerusalem Day marks the anniversary of Israel's capture of the Eastern part of the city during the 1967 Middle East War. In 1980, Israel's parliament passed a law declaring united Jerusalem as the national capital, a move never recognised internationally. REUTERS
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June 6 marks the 10th anniversary of the Ariel Sharon government's decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip — a move better known by the euphemistic term "unilateral disengagement." Even though this move portrayed the Palestinian "Oslo camp" as an empty vessel and thus contributed to the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip, the idea of unilateralism is back on the scene. Even former Minister Yossi Beilin, one of the architects of the Oslo Accord and former chairman of the Meretz Party, recommended establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank within temporary borders, by excluding the issues of the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and the solution of the refugee problem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected several times in diplomatic channels and even publicly the option of a state within interim borders. Hence, a plan that includes delineating an interim border not based on the 1967 lines, including in Jerusalem, agreed upon land swaps and the resolution of the refugees' problem, can only be implemented through a unilateral move. This is even more true now, with the swearing-in of the new Palestinian government, in which Hamas takes part.

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