Arab League rejects Trump’s Israel policies at annual summit

Arab League rejects Trump’s Israel policies at annual summit

(AP) —The Arab League rejected the U.S. recognition of Israeli control over the Golan Heights and other Trump administration policies seen as unfairly biased toward Israel at an annual summit on Sunday, showcasing unity on one of the few issues that unites the regional bloc.

Arab leaders also reiterated their commitment to resolving the conflict based on the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, in which they would recognize Israel in return for a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights as well as east Jerusalem and the West Bank, lands occupied in the 1967 war.

This year’s Arab League summit, held in Tunisia, comes against a grim backdrop of ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, rival authorities in Libya and a lingering boycott of Qatar by four fellow League members.

Algeria’s President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir skipped the meeting as they contend with mass protests against their long reigns. Syria, a founding member, was expelled in 2011 during the early days of the uprising against President Bashar Assad.

In their final statement after the daylong summit, the leaders affirmed that the Golan, a strategic plateau once used to shell northern Israel, is “Syria’s occupied territory.”

He added that Iran’s meddling was to blame for instability in the region. Saudi Arabia and Iran are locked in proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, and back opposing groups in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq.

Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said Iran and Turkey have “worsened some crises and created new problems,” calling on Arab leaders to “unite as one force under one umbrella against the regional interventions.”

The Arab leaders meeting in Tunisia condemned those policies but did not announce any further action.

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