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Arab summit ‘offers opportunity to bring Palestine back to spotlight’

By Mohammad Ghazal - Mar 19,2017 - Last updated at Mar 19,2017

AMMAN — As eyes turn towards the Arab summit, taking place in Jordan at the end of this month, pundits believe that some positive, yet not major resolutions are expected, and that Jordan will push the Palestinian cause as the Arabs’ central issue to the forefront anew.

Jordan will use its political clout, its moderate dimplomacy as well as its strong ties with other Arab nations to push for census and unity on  a set of issues. 

Amidst the current regional conditions, reaching a consensus over the Palestinian issue, the two-state solution, the need to protect holy sites in Jerusalem and the rejection of relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be a more doable objective, analysts said.

Intensified cooperation and efforts in the fight against terrorist groups in the region will also be a key issue to be discussed during the summit of Arab leaders, which Jordan will be hosting for the 4th time in its history.

"The Palestinian issue is the cause that can see consensus among all Arabs, as all Arabs are united in supporting the two-state solution and rejecting the one-state solution” to which US President Donald Trump has hinted, Oraib Rantawi, founder and director general of the Amman-based Al Quds Centre for Political Studies, told The Jordan Times in a recent interview.

Rantawi added that the protection of the holy sites in Jerusalem, the preservation of the city's Arab identity and reiteration of support for the two-state formula that leads to the creation of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel are other issues expected to be high on the summit’s agenda.

The war against terrorism will constitute a major topic of discussion, in addition to the situations in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Concerning the Syrian crisis, no major resolutions are expected, he said.

"Arab countries have different positions when it comes to the crisis in Syria for example…. but we have not been hearing any country lately attaching  importance to the demand that Syrian President Bashar Assad step down," Rantawi added.

The experts agreed that, with regard to Syria, resolutions are only expected to reiterate support to the Geneva and Astana talks to help reach a political solution to the crisis.

”Jordan is seeking to restore focus on the Palestinian issue and the Arab-Israeli conflict as it is the core issue in the region… Jordan will actually give priority to the Palestinian issue as it believes that it can win Arabs’ consensus [more] than other issues,” political analyst Fahed Khitan has said.

”No new resolutions are expected on Syria,” he said.

Mohammad Al Tal, chief editor of Ad Dustour, told The Jordan Times that thanks to Jordan’s “balanced stances and close ties with Arab states, its voice is heard and it will work on deploying all that to bring stances closer on various issues,” Tal said.

Among the key resolutions expected from the summit, several will be related to the Palestinian issue “in which Jordan is concerned more than any other Arab state”, the editor said.

”The summit will not be a turning point in the Arab history and high expectations from the meeting are not advised… the outcome will be within the same lines of the previous summits,” Khitan said, adding that ”It will just be another Arab summit.” 

Rantawi agreed. ”For the summit to be historic, the conditions in the Arab world need to be different,” he said, explaining that nowadays, there is “deterioration across the Arab world and split in viewpoints and stances”, Rantawi said.

”This has nothing to do with the hosting country,” Rantawi noted.

One should not raise expectations about the outcomes of the summit, Tal agreed.


”Raising expectations will negatively affect the summit. There will be some positive resolutions, but there will be no miracles resulting from the summit…It will be a success for Jordan to host the summit with the presence of many leaders amidst such conditions,” Tal added.

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