Special report: Palestine-Israel Relations¡¡¡¡
JERUSALEM, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday that Israeli leaders have been discussing pursuing a comprehensive Saudi peace plan, an initiative touted by the moderate Arab elements across the Middle East, according to local media.
"There is room in the coalition of the Saudi plan," Barak told Israeli Army Radio. "We have interests in common with moderate Arab elements on Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas."
The defense minister added that Israeli President Shimon Peres is in agreement with such consideration and he also has spoken about the matter with Prime Minister-designate Tzipi Livni.
The Saudi peace initiative was first proposed in 2002. It offers pan-Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for Israel's withdrawal from Arab lands captured in 1967.
The plan offers Israel full recognition and peace, in return for complete withdrawal from the lands Israel captured in the Six Day War and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, and for the right of return to Israel of Palestinian refugees and their descendants.
Israel initially rejected the proposal. Last year, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert praised the plan as "showing a positive approach" and said it would be taken into account in the peace process. But he stopped short of accepting it and rejected its call on refugees.
Arab foreign ministers re-endorsed the proposal at an Arab League summit in Damascus in March. The ratification included the declaration that advancement of the plans would depend on whether Israel fulfill its commitment to international agreements.