Palestinians Express Disappointment Ahead of Quartet Report on Stalled Peace Process

If the report on the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace process casts blame on both sides, as expected, the Palestinians could cut off ties with Quartet.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas checks his watch before a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2015.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas checks his watch before a speech in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 4, 2015. Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened on Thursday evening a meeting in Ramallah, in advance of the release of a report by the Middle East Quartet on the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The report, compiled by the Quartet - the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union - is expected to be critical of both Israel and the Palestinians and warn that the two-state solution is in danger due to policies on both sides.

The Palestinians expressed disappointment at the version of the report they had received ahead of the official release on Friday, which stated that Israel and the Palestinians could reach an agreement only through cooperation, and not through unilateral steps. It also said that leadership and vision were lacking so far from the conflict.

Such a report, a senior Palestinian official said, will damage efforts to convene an international conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace. The attempt to cast blame on both sides, he added, was not justified in light of Israel's actions and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to even discuss the issue of borders.

PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat spoke Thursday morning with senior representatives of the Quartet and expressed his reservations concerning the wording of the report, Haaretz has learned. Erekat said that the actions of the Israeli government do not allow any possibility of direct negotiations.

In the case that the report does attribute mutual responsibility on Israel and the Palestinians and insists on direct negotiations, the Palestinians will consider cutting off relations with the Quartet as an official body, and will conduct contacts with the individual governments.

On Thursday, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov briefed the UN Security Council, citing the Quartet report. He urged the Security Council to back the report and aid the Quartet's efforts.

"The main objective of this report is not about assigning blame," Mladenov told the 15-member council. "It focuses on the major threats to achieving a negotiated peace and offers recommendations on the way forward."

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