Tuesday, July 07, 2009

What would Arab states have to give in exchange for a settlement freeze?

Ha'aretz has the answer:

· Arab countries in the Gulf would allow Israeli passenger and civilian cargo aircraft to fly over their territory. The move would save long detours on flights to Asia, a popular destination for Israeli travelers.

· Israel would be able to open interest sections in other states' embassies in Arab capitals, such as Riyadh and Abu Dhabi. Israel had interest sections in several Arab countries but they were closed after the start in 2000 of a Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

· Arab countries would lift bans on the entry of tourists and other visitors whose passports carry Israeli visas or entry stamps. Such a step would facilitate regional travel for tourists and business executives.

· Arab states would allow Israeli-registered mobile phones to operate on Arab networks, a move that could foster economic contacts.

· Israel and Arab states would hold cultural exchanges. Arab countries would ease restrictions that prevent their officials from meeting with Israeli counterparts at international events.

In essence, the Zionist Entity would give up nothing but require the Arabs states to normalise its relations with it in return.

The settlement freeze is nothing: we shouldn't even be talking about it. Negotiations should focus on withdrawal, nothing less...

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