© 2024 Connecticut Public

FCC Public Inspection Files:
WEDH · WEDN · WEDW · WEDY · WNPR
WPKT · WRLI-FM · WEDW-FM · Public Files Contact
ATSC 3.0 FAQ
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Arab Delegation Takes Peace Proposal to Israel

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Consider two meetings in two parts of the world where the topic of conversation was the same. At the White House here in Washington, Jordan's king had dinner with President Bush. King Abdullah asked the president to get more involved in Middle East peace efforts. In the region itself, members of the Arab League are paying an unusual visit. Its members include a number of nations that have gone to war with Israel over the years. But today an Arab League delegation is in Jerusalem, and that's where NPR's Eric Westervelt picks up the story. Eric, what's really happening here?

ERIC WESTERVELT: Egypt's state-run media service, Steve, has issued a statement saying the foreign minister is representing Egypt and Egypt only on this visit, not the Arab League. But other Arab League officials strongly dispute that and say this is indeed a precedent-setting visit with Arab League representatives sitting down for the first time for official talks with Israel in Jerusalem.

INSKEEP: Okay, so a symbolic visit, but apparently important enough for people to argue about who's really going and what they represent. We should mention that these two foreign ministers come with a peace proposal; not a new one, but a peace proposal.

WESTERVELT: But today Israeli officials I have spoken to say they hope these new talks about the Arab initiative might help reinvigorate the long-stalled Arab-Israeli peace process. So, Steve, they're talking about talking. And as you know, here, that can sometimes be seen as a kind of progress.

INSKEEP: Well, let's talk about who is not being talked with. Hamas, which controls all of Gaza, as you know, Eric, is not being talked to by the United States or Europeans or Israel or the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas.

WESTERVELT: So the policy continues nonetheless to be to try to isolate Hamas and support its rival, Fatah and President Mahmoud Abbas who is now really only in charge of the West Bank. Some prominent officials, however, including former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the former head of Israel's Mossad, Ephraim Halevy, are saying publicly, look, you have to talk to your enemies, you have to engage Hamas, however distasteful it might be.

INSKEEP: Backing away from the specific meetings, or non-meetings as it may be in specific proposals, does it seem that there's a mood on either side or any side for peace right now, Eric?

WESTERVELT: But Blair's mandate is very limited right now to trying to improve the Palestinian economy in the West Bank. And people so far are saying we aren't seeing any tangible progress on the ground. So they're skeptical of all these diplomatic moves.

INSKEEP: Eric, thanks.

WESTERVELT: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: That's NPR's Eric Westervelt in Jerusalem. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Eric Westervelt is a San Francisco-based correspondent for NPR's National Desk. He has reported on major events for the network from wars and revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa to historic wildfires and terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Stand up for civility

This news story is funded in large part by Connecticut Public’s Members — listeners, viewers, and readers like you who value fact-based journalism and trustworthy information.

We hope their support inspires you to donate so that we can continue telling stories that inform, educate, and inspire you and your neighbors. As a community-supported public media service, Connecticut Public has relied on donor support for more than 50 years.

Your donation today will allow us to continue this work on your behalf. Give today at any amount and join the 50,000 members who are building a better—and more civil—Connecticut to live, work, and play.

Related Content