Arab summit to endorse Palestinian positions with eye on US

This was an apparent reference to President Donald Trump's previously stated intentions to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, the city at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Jordanian King Abdullah said Wednesday morning at the opening session of the 28th summit of Arab leaders that the basis for peace in the Middle East is a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The fighting pits Hadi's troops, backed by a Saudi-led global military coalition of mostly Arab states, against Shiite Houthi rebels, led by Abdul-Malek al-Houthi and backed by former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his forces.

Since taking office in January, Trump has sent mixed signals over how he will address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including a break with decades of U.S. policy by saying he would be open to solutions acceptable to both parties.

Civil war has raged in Yemen for two years.

A communique read by the League's secretary general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said Arab countries would be ready to have a historic reconciliation with Israel in return for its withdrawal from Palestinian land it occupied in the 1967 war. The two countries have disagreed over Syria and the transfer of two Red Sea islands from Egypt to Saudi Arabia. Several of more than a dozen draft resolutions deal with the Palestinian issue.

The leaders are set to discuss the wars in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen, the fight against "terrorism" and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, according to Jordan's information minister.

The summit affirmed long-held positions of Jordan, which has a large Palestinian population and also serves as custodian of the Al Aqsa compound.

Abdullah was joined by a number of leading Arab heads of state, including Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Egyptian President Abdul Fatah A-Sissi, who called for a two-state solution, saying it is the only viable solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Ghassan Khatib, a professor of political science at Birzeit University in the West Bank town of Ramallah, said the summit is important to counter recent suggestions by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that reaching peace with the Palestinians must begin with a wider regional initiative.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said the summit signalled the Arab world is willing to engage with the Trump administration in efforts to negotiate a two-state deal.

They will also voice support for, and appreciation of, Jordan's role in protecting the holy sites in Jerusalem, while stressing the Palestinians' right to statehood. "We meet in a hard Arab era dominated by crisis and conflicts that deprive our region of the security and stability they need to attain our people's rights", Safadi said in a meeting with fellow foreign ministers before the summit.

"After decades of simply talking about it, the president of the United States is giving serious consideration to moving the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem", Pence told thousands of pro-Israel activists and lobbyists on Sunday at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) convention in Washington, DC.



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