Quartet ‘concerned’ by building in Ariel, east J’lem

Statement urges Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations, says unilateral action by either party will not be recognized by the int'l community.

Ariel 521 (photo credit: Joanna Paraszczuk)
Ariel 521
(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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The 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 Bank.
Last week the Interior Ministry authorized the construction of 1,600 new homes in the Jewish east Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo.
“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 Russia.
“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.