The news of Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s decision not to host the 2016 Arab League summit passed under the radar of Israeli politicians and media. Seemingly, it is an internal Arab issue. Why would Israel care that the Moroccan Foreign Ministry thinks there’s no point in another banal event to analyze the “bitter situation of divergences and divisions” among members of the Arab League? So what if Morocco thinks it would be a waste of time to hear speeches “that give a false impression of unity” and make meaningless reaffirmations of prior decisions? What does it have to do with us Israelis? Well, it does have something to do with us. More to the point, it should have had to do with us.
One of those prior decisions brought forward for reaffirmation at such Arab League summits is the one approved at the 2002 meeting in Beirut accepting the Saudi-brokered Arab Peace Initiative. The resolution on the initiative has been reaffirmed at every summit since, calling for peace and normalization with Israel in exchange for withdrawal from territory occupied in 1967, the creation of a sustainable Palestinian state and a just and agreed-upon resolution of the refugee problem on the basis of UN Resolution 194. Although no Israeli government over the past 14 years has even bothered to hold a debate on the initiative, the summit has nonetheless reconfirmed it year after year. Also of note, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has never retracted its decision to adopt the initiative.