CAIRO: In an op-ed published in The New York Times, President Hosni Mubarak said that the parameters of the peace process are clear, including a Palestinian state in the territories with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and Palestine.
Titled “A Peace Plan Within Our Grasp,” Mubarak’s opinion piece weighed in on the current peace talks relaunched in Washington.
Mubarak confirmed that “previous negotiations have already resolved many of the details on the final status of refugees, borders, Jerusalem and security,” but did not elaborate.
Mubarak stressed that the stumbling block in the peace process is only psychological, as the mounting violence between the Palestinians and Israelis stands in the way of reconciliation.
"The biggest obstacle that now stands in the way of success is psychological: the cumulative effect of years of violence and the expansion of Israeli settlements have led to a collapse of trust on both sides," wrote Mubarak.
"For the talks to succeed, we must rebuild trust and a sense of security," he added.
Mubarak prescribed some solutions to get over this "psychological" barrier first by "safeguarding the peace process from further outbreaks of violence," putting the issue of Gaza on the top of the agenda.
“To that end Egypt stands ready to resume its efforts to resolve the many difficult issues surrounding Gaza: mediating a prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas, which controls Gaza, bringing an end to Israel’s blockade,” Mubarak wrote.
Mubarak also pointed out that reconciliation between the two Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas is essential to make the two-state solution possible.
"The Palestinians cannot make peace with a house divided. If Gaza is excluded from the framework of peace, it will remain a source of conflict, undermining any final settlement."
Mubarak also indicated that the negotiations should draw on a broader frame for a complete resolution including all Arab states, stressing the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative.
"Arab nations should continue to demonstrate the seriousness of their peace initiative with steps that address the hopes and concerns of ordinary Israelis," he asserted.
Moreover, Mubarak said that "settlements and peace are incompatible" as they hinder the possibility of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Mubarak described the security issue as an important condition for trust, stressing that Israeli withdrawal from the occupied lands is the only condition on which Israel can claim its legitimate security needs.
"Egypt believes that the presence of an international force in the West Bank, to be stationed for a period to be agreed upon by the parties, could give both sides the confidence and security they seek," he said.
Finally, Mubarak expressed Egypt’s willingness to host other rounds of negotiations, stressing that a just and eternal peace between the two counterparts is essential to get rid of the "bitter lash of extremism."