07.26.2016 | 20 Tammuz, 5776
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Diplomacy & Politics
TOVAH LAZAROFF \
PA President Abbas with PM Netanyahu 311 (R).
(photo credit:Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)
The Quartet on Monday failed in its latest bid to resume peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.“Israel is disappointed that the Palestinians have not picked up the ball,” an Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post after a Jerusalem meeting the Quartet held with the prime minister’s special envoy, Yitzhak Molho.
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“The [ Palestinians] refused to accept the Quartet’s call for the immediate resumption of talks,” said the official.The
Palestinians in turn said they were disappointed that Israel had not
heeded their call to freeze settlement construction and Jewish east
Jerusalem building.“We are ready to discuss all final status
issues once Israel proves its seriousness and commitment by freezing all
its illegal settlement construction in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, especially in occupied east Jerusalem,” Palestinian
negotiator Saeb Erekat said after a Ramallah meeting with the Quartet.
Israel, Erekat said, must also accept “clear terms of reference, specifically the 1967 border.“We cannot understate the importance of this issue,” he said.“These are not favors that Israel is doing for us. This is an integral
component of the formula for a credible exchange that would ensure a
speedy and successful conclusion to the occupation and conflict”, Erekat
said.But an Israeli official noted that, in the past, talks took place
without this demand and that there was no need at this time to introduce
new barriers to the process.“Israel remains ready for the immediate resumption of peace talks without preconditions,” the Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post.“Unfortunately the Palestinians continue to put their own conditions on
the table and despite the diplomatic language that they are using, the
bottom line is that they are refusing to allow direct negotiations to
start,” the Israeli official said.In a statement it released to the press, the Quartet said, that its
envoys and Quartet Representative Tony Blair “continued to encourage
the parties to resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or
preconditions.”“Envoys discussed with the parties their development of proposals on
territory and security in the context of our shared commitment to direct
talks on the basis of the 23 September 2011 Quartet statement,” the
statement said.“Envoys called upon the parties to create a conducive environment for
restarting talks and urged the parties to refrain from provocative
actions,” the statement said.The Quartet said it would remain in close touch with Israeli and
Palestinians officials. It added that it would have a follow-up-meeting
in December.During the Ramallah meeting, Erekat gave the Quartet a letter from the
PLO Executive Committee, asking that it support their demand for the
release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails; particularly those
incarcerated before the 1993 Oslo Accords.The Palestinians said that former prime minister Ehud Olmert had
promised that such a release would occur after IDF soldier Gilad Schalit
had been freed from captivity in Gaza. These prisoners, he had told the
PA, would be in addition to those freed by Israel in exchange for
Schalit last month.
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