American and European diplomats warned that if peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are not renewed, the Quartet of Mideast peace makers may formally recognize a Palestinian state, the Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.
The Quartet, which is comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union, and Russia, was supposed to meet last week to discuss an initiative by Britain, France and Germany to restart stalled Israeli-Palestinian talks by proposing the outlines of a final settlement to their long conflict.
The United States blocked the initiative, with a U.S. official of Barack Obama's administration saying the administration didn't think a Quartet meeting would produce anything useful in terms of getting the talks restarted.
"It wasn't the right time," the official said.
The Israelis and Palestinians have agreed to Obama's target date of September 2011 for an agreement, but negotiations collapsed weeks after they restarted last September because Israel ended its moratorium on settlement construction. The Palestinians insist they will not resume peace talks until Israel halts settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, which the Palestinians want for their future state.
The Palestinians have launched their own initiative aimed at gaining recognition of independent statehood at the UN General Assembly in September. They have succeeded in gaining recognition from several countries in Latin America.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the Palestinian move to secure international recognition for statehood was hindering peace efforts and essentially a bid toward avoiding negotiations.
"Palestinians seek to go to an international forum and avoid peace negotiations," Netanyahu said earlier this month. "It pushes peace further back."
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