Posted by on April 03, 2012 in Blog

Last week, the Arab American Institute (AAI), along with J Street and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing on the Arab Peace Initiative (API) 10 Years Later. Speakers included AAI President Jim Zogby, J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, Carnegie’s Marwan Muasher, and Yitzhak Rabin’s son Yuval Rabin.

Jeremy Ben-Ami delivered the opening remarks, introducing the panelists, reviewing J Street’s approach to promoting peace, and praising the API. Ben-Ami said that the API “offered and still offers possibilities that we in the Jewish peace community only had dreamed about for decades beforehand, which is a full and complete resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.” Watch his full remarks:

Dr. Marwan Muasher kicked off the panel by describing how the API had provided the needed political cover for both sides to sign a comprehensive peace agreement. Muasher said there was plenty of blame to go around for the failure of the parties to come to an agreement, but suggested that the Israeli government, at the time when the API had been adopted by the Arab League, was not interested in reaching any agreement. Watch his full remarks:

Thomas Friedman followed Muasher, giving a detailed personal account of his interactions with the Saudi King in the lead-up and following the announcement of the API. He noted that the API was still viable, but that it was an “orphan,” in need of stronger advocates. Watch his full remarks:

Yuval Rabin, son of the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, discussed the Israel Peace Initiative (IPI), which was a response to the API. Rabin said that the API presented a “breakthrough” by replacing the paradigm of incremental peace-making between Israel and the Arab World by an “all for all” paradigm. Watch his full remarks:

Jim delivered his remarks at the end, noting that both the Arab and Jewish communities too frequently allow themselves to be defined by the loudest among them, and not always by their true majorities who have a shared interest in peace. Jim noted that while both communities don’t necessarily agree on the past or present, they do agree on where we need to go. Watch his full remarks:

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