Judging by the massive media coverage, the Arab summit taking place on March 27-28[, 2002] in Beirut promises to be a turning point in the Arab-Israeli conflict. The primary source of excitement is Saudi crown prince Abdullah's proposal for Arabs to normalize relations in return for Israel returning to its June 1967 boundaries. But even the lesser aspects of this summit -- Will Yasir Arafat be there or not? Why did Husni Mubarak decide against going? -- are headline, top-of-the-newscast material.
But nothing of import will take place in Beirut. In fact, in a year's time this summit and the Abdullah plan will almost certainly be well forgotten.
A year later, the Abdullah Plan is indeed buried and utterly forgotten. (February 17, 2003)
Feb. 23, 2008 update: You could have fooled me, but five years later the Abdullah Plan remains alive enough for the Arab states to threaten to kill it, according to the Associated Press:
Arab officials are warning they could withdraw their landmark offer of peace and full ties with Israel in exchange for a return of Arab lands, unless Israel explicitly accepts the initiative. … Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal - whose country sponsored the Arab peace initiative, adopted by Arab nations in 2002 - warned Thursday[, Feb. 21] that "despair would force us to review these options, including withdrawing the proposal."
Jan. 26, 2009 update: Well, it appears that the Abdullah Plan has enjoyed a full-scale resucitation, with Barack Obama praising it in his first interview as president: "Look at the proposal that was put forth by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. I might not agree with every aspect of the proposal, but it took great courage to put forward something that is as significant as that."
Comment: No matter what the attempts to revive it, I continue to predict, as I did seven years ago, that the Abdullah plan will fail and will be forgotten.
Apr. 18, 2009 update: Indeed, U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, is trotting out the Abdullah plan, saying the U.S. government wants to build a comprehensive peace" on it.
Apr. 30, 2013 update: Blow me down, but the Abdullah Plan remains alive enough for it to be tweaked. Here is U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry making an announcement after meeting with an Arab League delegation headed by the Qatari emir: "We've had a very positive, very constructive discussion over the course of the afternoon, with positive results. The Arab League's delegation affirmed that agreement should be based on the two-state solution on the basis of the 4th of June 1967 line, with the (possibility) of comparable and mutually agreed minor swaps of the land."