Arab states warn Israel over unilateral move
Arabs Wednesday downplayed the importance of the election win by Israel's centrist Kadima party, led by Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Ahead of the elections, Olmert presented his plan to pull out of much of the West Bank and draw Israel's borders by 2010.
Such unilateral move was rejected Wednesday in a summit of Arab leaders that ended in Sudan.
"The Arab world must study all its options. Because it is absolutely out of the question to accept ... unilateral withdrawals according to Israeli whims. This just doesn't work, and it can only worsen the situation," Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa told reporters.
The Arab states' joint declaration at the summit reaffirmed that the Palestinian Authority "is a full partner in the peace process." The Arab leaders also renewed their commitment to the 2002 Arab peace initiative, adopted at a summit in Beirut, which offered Israel a comprehensive peace in return for withdrawal from all occupied Arab lands.
"We were expecting (the election results)," Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem told reporters in Sudan. "But it's important to have a comprehensive withdrawal from the lands occupied in 1967."
Egypt chose not to immediately take a stand on the vote. However, Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit warned Israel against making unilateral moves. "The coming Israeli government must stay away from unilateral measures and move toward peace according to the Arab initiative," he told reporters.
Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told Al-Jazeera television that he was against Olmert's withdrawal plan. "Such a plan definitely won't be accepted by the Palestinian people or the Palestinian government," he said.