CAIRO, Egypt — Arab countries are considering backing an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace accord reached last year in Geneva, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press on Monday.
When the Geneva accord was made public, Egypt and Jordan — the only two Arab countries at peace with Israel — welcomed it as an effort to revive stalled peace talks and end more than three years of bloodshed.
But many Arab nations sharply denounced it, including Syria, which said it made too many concessions. Others criticized its position on refugees.
The four-page Arab League document does not spell out how to resolve the stickiest issues. But in essence, it backs the so-called "Geneva accord" reached last year by unofficial Israeli and Palestinian negotiators meeting in Switzerland.
The document never mentions the "Geneva Accord" by name, referring instead to "unofficial initiatives." But a senior Arab diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed this was a reference to the Geneva Accord — and the contents themselves leave little room for doubt.
Arab leaders are to take up the matter at a summit in Tunis March 29-30.
The Geneva accord outlines the borders between Israel and a future Palestinian state, deals with Israeli settlements in Palestinian areas, and turns Jerusalem into a shared capital for both states.
It offers compensation to Palestinian refugees, but allows Israel to decide how many return — a point the Arab nations opposed.
The Arab League document reaffirms Israel's "legal, political and moral responsibilities for the creation of the Palestinian refugee problem," but it does not insist the refugees return to their homeland.
According to the United Nations, 750,000 Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes in 1948; today, they amount to about 5 million with their descendants.
Titled "The Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflict," the Arab League document also calls for integrating ideas from the Arab accord adopted in Beirut in 2002, the U.S.-backed "road map" and "President George Bush's vision." It did not elaborate.
The "road map," which calls for an independent Palestinian state by next year, has been stalled since June.
Former Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo, who negotiated the Geneva Accord with former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, has visited Arab countries including Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, trying to convince the governments to back the accord with an Arab summit resolution.
Arab League foreign ministers met Monday in Cairo to prepare for the summit, where leaders are also expected to seek ways to invigorate their 22-member organization and consider a unified effort to reform Arab society.