Both the US and the Quartet expect Israel and the Palestinians to meet in direct
negotiations and exchange comprehensive proposals on issues of security and
territory, US Ambassador Dan Shapiro said Thursday.
Shapiro, speaking at
a press conference in Tel Aviv, said this position had been made clear to both
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His comments are significant because the Palestinians have said in
recent days that while they have presented the Quartet – consisting of the US,
EU, UN and Russia – with compre- hensive proposals, Israel has refused to do so,
creating the impression that Israel is obstructing the process.
position is that the comprehensive proposals that the Quartet discussed in
September when it drew up a new framework for trying to bring the sides back to
the table are to come out of negotiations between the sides, and not as result
of the Quartet mediating between them.
Shapiro’s comments appear to
support Israel’s interpretation.
Quartet representatives are scheduled to
return to Jerusalem next week for the third round of separate talks with Israel
and the Palestinians since the body launched its sofar- unsuccessful new
framework for talks on September 23.
Regarding Iran, Shapiro said there
was “extraordinarily close cooperation” between Israel and the US on this
matter, and that the two sides discussed this issue more than any other
His comments follow a recent remark by US Gen. Martin
Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said he did not know whether
Israel would give the US advance notice of an attack on Iran.
would not directly address Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s comments during
a closed meeting last Saturday at the Saban Forum in Washington, in which she
reportedly warned about threats to Israel’s democracy.
The ambassador did
say, however, that “we believe Israel is an extremely vibrant democracy with
very strong institutions,” and that the US had “confidence” in Israel’s ability
to work out the various issues on the agenda, such as the proposed legislation
on non-governmental organizations and the stiffening of libel laws.
about the situation in Egypt, Shapiro said the US had made clear to the
Egyptians that it expected Cairo to remain fully committed to all its
international obligations, including peace with Jerusalem.
treaty a “fundamental pillar of stability in the region,” Shapiro said that “our
firm belief and expectation is that the treaty will remain in place, and needs
to remain in place, and we have communicated that to the
Shapiro, who is considered close to US President Barack
Obama, said he had no news regarding a possible Obama visit to Israel before the
2012 presidential elections. The president “does look forward to coming to
Israel,” he said, but he had no information about when such a visit might take