Saudi Proposal Calls for Israeli Withdrawal; MIDDLE EAST: Peace Plan Requires Palestinian State in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem

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ARAB foreign ministers were meeting under tight security yesterday to prepare for a summit expected to launch a Saudi proposal aimed at ending 18 months of Middle East bloodshed.

The Saudi plan, which has raised hopes for a strong Arab push, calls for an end to the conflict in return for a complete Israeli withdrawal from occupied territories.

Although the broad concept has received wary interest from some Israelis, the key issues of the Israeli settlements, Jerusalem, and what do to about 3.5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants, are seen as the main stumbling blocks.

Thousands of Lebanese security agents have been deployed on the streets of Beirut and near the summit venue. Military drills have been held in the air and on the Mediterranean Sea all month, with Lebanese officials taking no chances after the September 11 terror attacks in the US.

The summit only took on critical importance in the last few weeks when Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah floated his peace initiative.

The draft of the plan circulated by the Palestinians proposes Israel pull out of all the West Bank, Gaza Strip, east Jerusalem, Golan Heights and disputed parts of Lebanon. …