Quartet envoy Tony Blair and PM Netanyahu 311 (R).
(photo credit: Pool / Reuters)
Quartet members plan to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah on Monday in an effort to
restart peace talks.
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A variety of conciliatory formulas have been
explored by some of its members — the US, UN, EU and Russia — which includes
Palestinian recognition of Israel as the homeland for the Jewish people, in
exchange for a settlement freeze.
An alternative formula asks the
Palestinians to drop their demand for a settlement freeze in exchange for
acceptable language on the borders of a twostate solution.
But to date
there has been no movement toward talks.
The Palestinians have stood firm
on their request that Israel must freeze settlement activity in West Bank
settlements and stop Jewish building in east Jerusalem neighborhoods. Israel has
refused to heed this request, and has called on the Palestinians to resume talks
“We are ready for the immediate resumption of
direct talks,” an Israeli official said.
“The Palestinians said they need
terms of reference. We are ready for terms of reference that include difficult
language [for Israel] on the issue of borders [in exchange for] more precise
language on what the goal of the negotiations are; two states, a Jewish state
and a Palestinian one,” the official said.
Speaking with reporters in
Tunisia on Friday, Abbas said that the statehood bid did not contradict the
“Even if we gain membership, we will go back to the
negotiations because what is between us and Israel on the ground can’t be solved
in the UN, but at the negotiating table,” Abbas explained.
coexistence with Israel on clear foundations,” he said. “We want a Palestinian
state on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital, and a solution to the
problem of the refugees.”
Abbas denied that the Quartet members have been
exerting undue pressure on the PA leadership to resume peace talks with
He reiterated his support for the Quartet initiative that was
announced on September 24, and which calls for the resumption of the peace
process, even though he is not yet willing to negotiate with Israel.
was a good statement and we are waiting to see it translated into deeds on the
ground,” the PA president said. “We support it – especially because it calls for
the resumption of the peace negotiations on the basis of clear terms of
The statement proposed that the PA and Israel hold a
preparatory meeting within a month and commit to reaching an agreement within a
timeframe agreed to by the parties, but no longer at the end of 2012.
two parties are expected to come forward with comprehensive proposals within
three months on territory and security, and to have made substantial progress
within six months.
The Quartet also called upon the parties to refrain
from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective.
in the same conversation with the reporter, Abbas confirmed plans to meet with
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal later this month to discuss ways of ending the power
struggle between Fatah and Hamas.
“Hamas is part of the Palestinian
people and we should consult with it,” Abbas said.