Towards a Joint Arab Vision on Obama’s Speech

  • 10 June 2009

There is a need for a united Arab position or view in dealing with orientations enunciated by US President Barak Obama in his speech to the Islamic world in Cairo recently, especially as regards the Arab-Israeli peace process and issues related to it—particularly colony-building and the two-state solution. Each Arab country has separately expressed its position on the speech and the majority considers it a positive change in relations between the US and the Arab and Islamic worlds. However, there is still a need for a united Arab stance with a clear program in response to Obama’s speech. Here lies the importance of the Arab ministerial meeting that will be held on June 17 to deliberate upon this stance, which would serve as reference for Arab political response to the US administration in coming times, especially with US willingness to revive the peace process. President Obama asked US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell to make sustained efforts to continue the Palestinian-Israeli peace negotiations.

The US president insisted on a two-state solution, an end to colony-building, and continued pressure on Israeli government to abide by its peace obligations. Meanwhile, he asked Palestinians and Arabs to take positions that promote peace. This requires the Arab world to take a united stance, and for Israel to align its position with current US views and plans. Arab absence from this front would undoubtedly give Tel Aviv more room to move freely and achieve its goals to stop any real effort from ending Arab-Israeli conflict. Inside and outside the US, Israel supports working on different levels and in different directions to muster US support for its position on the peace process.

The change in US policy on the Middle East under Obama’s administration is not limited to the peace process, its developments and the position toward Israel. It also includes many other issues that are directly related to Arab interests. Thus, there is a need to deal with this change in a comprehensive manner that does not only focus on Arab-Israeli conflict but extends to all issues in the region.