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Quartet lumps Palestinian, settler violence together
By HERB KEINON
11/04/2012
After meeting in Washington, Quartet releases statement indicating that both PA, Israel not doing enough to combat violence; group renews commitment to continued negotiations, hopes for agreement by end of 2012.
 
The Quartet issued a statement Wednesday that included a paragraph lumping violent Palestinian extremism and incitement with settler violence.

"Noting the significant progress on security achieved by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, the Quartet calls on the Palestinian Authority to continue to make every effort to improve law and order, to fight violent extremism, and to end incitement," the statement read. "The Quartet also expressed its concern over ongoing settler violence and incitement in the West Bank and calls on Israel to take effective measures, including bringing the perpetrators of such acts to justice."

The statement came at the end of a meeting in Washington attended by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Quartet envoy Tony Blair and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.

Jordan sponsored a round of Israeli-Palestinian talks in Amman in January.

The statement renewed the Quartet's commitment to the framework it laid out in September that called for an initial meeting between the two sides within 30 days, leading to the trading of comprehensive proposals on security and territory within three months, and an overall agreement by the end of 2012.

Noting the "increasing fragility of developments on the ground" and the Palestinian Authority's fiscal challenges, the Quartet called on the international community to "ensure the contribution of $1.1 billion in assistance to meet the Palestinian Authority's 2012 recurrent financing requirements."

The statement also encouraged Israel and the PA to "facilitate the social and economic development of Area C, which is of critical importance for the viability of a future Palestinian state as well as for its Palestinian inhabitants to be enabled to lead a normal life." Area C is the part of the West  Bank under full Israeli control. Blair was working with Israel to allow more Palestinian economic activity in that area, when Fatah and Hamas singed a reconciliation agreement in Doha in February that temporarily shelved those plans.

The Quartet said that the situation "in an around Gaza" will remain "fragile and unsustainable as long as the West Bank and Gaza are not reunited under the legitimate Palestinian Authority adhering to the PLO commitments."

The statement condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza, without blasting Israel for its retaliatory military actions.

Regarding the settlements, the Quartet stopped far short of blaming settlement construction for the impasse in the diplomatic process, as the Palestinians had hoped, but  "expressed concern about unilateral and provocative actions by either party, including continued settlement activity, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations, the only way to a just and durable solution to the conflict."
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