Quartet of Mideast Negotiators: Situation in Gaza Still 'Unacceptable'

The Quartet - the U.S., EU, Russia, and the UN - welcomes Israel's decision to ease its blockade of Gaza, but says more must be done to alleviate pressure on the population there.

Send in e-mailSend in e-mail

The Quartet of Middle East peace negotiators Monday welcomed Israel's decision to ease its blockade of Gaza but said the situation in the territory remained "unsustainable and unacceptable."

In a statement agreed during a conference call, the Quartet - the United States, European Union, Russia, and the United Nations - said Israel's change of policy toward Gaza was encouraging but said much more needed to be done to alleviate pressure on the Palestinian territory's population.

"The new policy toward Gaza just announced by the government of Israel is a welcome development," read a statement agreed after the call, which involved Quartet envoy Tony Blair, U.S. special envoy George Mitchell and EU foreign affairs representative Catherine Ashton, among others.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Middle East Quartet Envoy Tony Blair on June 08, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel.Credit: GPO

"Full and effective implementation will comprise a significant shift in strategy toward meeting the needs of Gaza's population for humanitarian and commercial goods, civilian reconstruction and infrastructure, and legitimate economic activity, as well as the security needs of Israel."

But the statement added that the "current situation in Gaza, including the humanitarian and human rights situation of the civilian population, is unsustainable, unacceptable, and not in the interests of any of those concerned."

Israel said Sunday it would move to allow almost all goods into Gaza except for arms and materials used to make them, a shift from its previous policy of banning virtually all goods from entering the coastal territory of 1.5 million people.

The decision followed intense international pressure and criticism of Israel after its deadly raid on a flotilla of aid ships which tried to break the Gaza blockade on May 31.

Fighting erupted as Israeli commandos boarded one of the ships, and nine Turkish men were shot dead by Israeli forces. Relations between Israel and Turkey once solid allies, have since sunk to their lowest level in decades.

The Quartet said it would continue to press Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other parties -- a reference to Egypt, which also borders Gaza -- to ensure the new arrangements for Gaza's crossings were implemented as quickly as possible.

"The Quartet affirms that much work remains to achieve fully the situation stated above ... It will monitor closely the implementation of the policy in all its aspects," it said.

At the same time, the Quartet reiterated the need for Israel's "legitimate security concerns" to be safeguarded and said it would work with the international community to prevent the trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza.

It also called for the immediate release of Gilad Shalit, an Israel soldier captured by Gaza militants on June 25, 2006, and condemned Hamas, the militant group that has run Gaza since June 2007, for not allowing the Red Cross access to Shalit.



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


Trump and Netanyahu at the White House in Washington, in 2020.

Three Years Later, Israelis Find Out What Trump Really Thought of Netanyahu

German soldier.

The Rival Jewish Spies Who Almost Changed the Course of WWII

Rio. Not all Jewish men wear black hats.

What Does a Jew Look Like? The Brits Don't Seem to Know

Galon. “I’m coming to accomplish a specific mission: to increase Meretz’s strength and ensure that the party will not tread water around the electoral threshold. If Meretz will be large enough, it will be the basis for a Jewish-Arab partnership.” Daniel Tchetchik

'I Have No Illusions About Ending the Occupation, but the Government Needs the Left'

Soldiers using warfare devices made by the Israeli defense electronics company Elbit Systems.

Russia-Ukraine War Catapults Israeli Arms Industry to Global Stage

Flame and smoke rise during an Israeli air strike, amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Gaza City August 6, 2022.

Israel Should End Gaza Operation Now, if It Can