The Arab Center: The Promise of Moderation
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Marwan Muasher, a prominent Jordanian diplomat, has been instrumental in shaping Middle East peace efforts for nearly twenty years. He served as Jordan’s first ambassador to Israel and was also ambassador to the United States, spokesperson at peace talks in Madrid and Washington, minister of foreign affairs, and deputy prime minister in charge of reform. Here he recounts the behind-the-scenes details of diplomatic ventures over the past two decades, including such recent undertakings as the Arab Peace Initiative and the Middle East Road Map.
Muasher’s insights into internal Arab politics and the successes and failures of the Arab Center are uniquely informed and deeply felt. He assesses how the middle road approach to reform is faring and explains why current tactics used by the West to deal with Islamic groups are doomed to failure. He examines why the Arab Center has made so little progress and which Arab, Israeli, and American policies need rethinking. Part memoir and part analysis, this book reveals the human side of the Arab-Israeli conflict. It is essential reading for all who share the hope that moderate, pragmatic Arab voices will be heard in today’s vitriolic debates over how to achieve an enduring peace in the Middle East.
harbored ambitions for the West Bank, all contacts there had to be carefully considered to avoid causing alarm. On the other hand, ignoring the West Bank completely would have looked odd, especially to Jordanians. I had many friends from my negotiating days, not to mention many family members on Lynne’s side. I also needed a break every now and then from the tense atmosphere I was living in. So I decided to make only social calls and not to engage in any political activity that might offend
meeting so that other Arab countries could agree on the text. I also phoned Sa’eb Ereikat and briefed him on our efforts. King Abdullah II visited Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates on March 5. Their support was immediately forthcoming, and shortly after that, President Assad announced his support for the crown prince’s idea. In spite of Assad’s announcement, Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa remained concerned about the position of the Syrian foreign minister, Farouq Sharaa, as well as
reference, land for peace, and UN Security Council Resolution 1397 • Commitment to a speciﬁed time frame for the above • Active participation to rebuild the Palestinian infrastructure and refugee camps2 on a modern basis • Guaranteeing Israel’s honoring of its commitments Israeli Commitments • Refraining from reoccupying Palestinian cities • Ending all forms of violence • Withdrawing to the September 28, 2000, lines, before the convening of the international conference • Releasing Palestinian
will be determined through negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. 6. Declared references must be made to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and to the waiver of any right of return for Palestinian refugees to the State of Israel. 7. The end of the process will lead to the end of all claims, not just the end of the conﬂict. 8. The future settlement will be reached through agreement and direct negotiations between the two parties in accordance with the vision outlined by
Israelis?” I asked him. For me, the matter was straightforward. If Israel and the United States had indeed struck a secret deal, then the entire Road Map would effectively be null and void, particularly considering the Israelis’ fourteen reservations. Powell assured me that there was no secret deal and that despite the Israeli reservations, the Road Map had been accepted in its entirety. This was unexpected but welcome news, of course. I felt that all our labor was ﬁnally bearing fruit. In the