The annual Arab League summit is underway in Algiers. As always, talks are expected to a dominated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with a renewed offer to normalise relations with Israel. The initiative, outlined three years ago in Beirut, offers Israel peace and normal relations with more than 21 Arab countries in return for withdrawal to the 1967 borders.
Jordan, one of the Arab states that enjoys the closest relations with Israel, wants to build on the slight improvement in relations in recent months, and has tried to simplify the text. But other Arab countries say it must stick to the original, highlighting the depth of Arab suspicion that Israel would try to take without giving in return.
Israel has dismissed the offer as a non-starter. The summit will steer clear of Syria’s controversial presence in Lebanon though foreign ministers have expressed solidarity with Damascus and the Lebanese government. Ministers have also backed Egypt’s bid for a permanent seat at the UN Security Council.