lieberman glasses profile 311 AP.
(photo credit: AP)
The Dutch and Spanish foreign ministers are scheduled to arrive separately in
Israel on Monday for talks, two days after the Quartet met to discuss the Middle
East and called on the sides to “urgently” expedite the diplomatic
Spain, Jews and Israel: 25 years after formal relations
Quartet refuses to endorse unilateral state; PA upset
While Spain, which recently upgraded the Palestinian
representation in Madrid from delegation to mission status, is widely considered
in Israel as one of the European countries most keen on recognizing a
Palestinian state, the Dutch parliament passed a resolution earlier this month
calling on the government to “encourage the European Union to resist the
unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.”
The Dutch motion also
called upon the Palestinian leaders “to resume direct negotiations with Israel,
in which they make an effort to arrive at a durable solution to the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict that does justice to the Palestinian problem and
comprises the explicit recognition of a democratic, Jewish
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is scheduled to meet Dutch
Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal on Monday, and with Spain’s Trinidad Jimenez on
Israeli officials, meanwhile, responded to the Quartet statement
on the diplomatic process issued Saturday by saying that “it could have been a
The statement, which expressed regret that Israel did not
extend a settlement moratorium last September, stopped well short of endorsing a
unilateral Palestinian declaration of statehood on all territory beyond the 1967
lines. Instead, the Quartet “reaffirmed that negotiations should lead to an
outcome that ends the occupation that began in 1967 and resolves all
permanent-status issues, in order to end the conflict and achieve a two-state
That wording does not endorse, as the Palestinians would have
liked, their claim to a state fully along the 1967 lines, with a land swap for
any alteration in the 1967 lines.
The statement also said the Quartet
reiterated “its support for concluding these negotiations by September
One government official quipped, “I hope the negotiations start by
Israeli officials said that the package of incentives agreed upon
by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Quartet envoy Tony Blair helped
“soften” the Quartet’s statement. Netanyahu met with Blair three times over the
last three weeks, and some 10 times over the last three months to hammer out the
package, much of which Western officials have been demanding of Israel for
The package included the following highlights:
Agreement to revive Israeli-Palestinian discussions on the ‘Gaza Marine’ gas
field, with approval in principle of the supply of Palestinian offshore gas to
Gaza power plants and specific project approval to a new power station
• Agreement to provide mobile desalination plants in Gaza and
approval in principle for construction of a larger permanent desalination
• Full approval for all the sanitation and water treatment plants
necessary for Gaza, with Israel agreeing to facilitate and support the entry of
construction materials to enable projects to be completed on schedule.
Further measures to promote Gaza exports, especially in furniture and textiles
as well as agriculture.
• A pilot project for allowing the entrance into
Gaza of private sector construction materials beginning on April 1.
the West Bank:
• Extension of Palestinian Authority security presence in Area B
–with agreement in principle for the construction or renovation of police
stations in seven Palestinian cities.
• The issuance of West Bank ID
cards to 5,000 Gaza-registered residents of the West Bank.
• Agreement of
the construction of two housing projects in east Jerusalem.