(photo credit: Joanna Paraszczuk)
The Middle East Quartet on Tuesday said that it was “greatly concerned” by
recent announcements of new Jewish construction in the West Bank settlement of
Ariel and in east Jerusalem.
It urged both Israelis and Palestinians to
resume negotiations, which have been stalled for almost a year.
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Quartet statement followed an announcement by Israel on Monday that it would
build 277 new homes in Ariel, located in the Samaria region of the West
Last week the Interior Ministry authorized the construction of
1,600 new homes in the Jewish east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat
“The Quartet is greatly concerned by Israel’s recent
announcements to advance planning for new housing units in Ariel and east
Jerusalem,” it said.
The approvals come at a “critical juncture” in the
Quartet’s efforts to restart negotiations, it said. The Quartet is made up of
the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and
“The Quartet reaffirms that unilateral action by either party
cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the
international community,” the Quartet said.
“Jerusalem in particular is
one of the core issues that must be resolved through negotiations between the
parties, which underscores the urgent need for the parties to resume serious and
substantive talks,” it said.
“Ultimately, it is up to Israeli and
Palestinian leaders to make tough decisions and avoid actions by their
governments that undermine the very goals they and we are trying to achieve,”
the Quartet said.
Its statement followed similar comments Monday by both
the United States and the Palestinians that the Ariel and east Jerusalem
approvals harmed efforts to revive the peace talks.