Netanyahu rejects quartet 'myth' that settlements prevent peace

by Douglas Stevenson Julio 10, 2016, 3:28

The Quartet hopes that the parties will engage with the global group, but the official said that doing so is up to the Palestinians and the Israelis.

Both Israel and the Palestinians found fault in the latest offering from the Quartet - the worldwide entity overseeing peacemaking and comprised of the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russian Federation.

"This raises legitimate questions about Israel's long term intentions which are compounded by the statements of some Israeli ministers that there should never be a Palestinian state", according to the draft report.

It said only one permit for Palestinian housing construction in Area C was reportedly approved in 2014, while there did not appear to have been any approved in 2015.

It condemned the "continuing violence, terrorist attacks against civilians, and incitement to violence" on the Palestinian side, and the "continuing policy of settlement construction and expansion, designation of land for exclusive Israeli use, and denial of Palestinian development" on the Israeli side.

· Israel should implement positive and significant policy shifts, including transferring powers and responsibilities in Area C, consistent with the transition to greater Palestinian civil authority contemplated by prior agreements.

The report's findings and recommendations are to serve as the basis for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been comatose since a United States initiative collapsed in April 2014.

Israeli-Palestinian violence since October has killed at least 211 Palestinians, 33 Israelis, two Americans, an Eritrean and a Sudanese.

In one of several attacks in recent days, a 19-year-old Palestinian fatally stabbed a 13-year-old US-Israeli national in her home at the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba on the outskirts of Hebron.

A senior U.S. State Department official said Friday that Washington was very concerned about Palestinian incitement to violence, urging Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to condemn terrorist attacks.

There are now at least 570,000 settlers living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians hope to make the capital of their future state.

Palestinian militants fired a rocket late Friday from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, causing material damage but no injuries, the army said.

Nickolay Mladenov, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, told the Security Council on Thursday, in advance of the report's release, that its aim wasn't to assign blame but to find a way forward. The United Nations and most countries consider the settlements as illegal.

Mladenov said he hoped the report would push the parties to engage constructively with the Quartet and that the text would be welcomed by the Security Council.

"Certainly I would hope that this report would serve as a wakeup call", he said ahead of its release.

Earlier on June 29, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon emphasized that what is lacking in terms of a lasting settlement for peace to the conflict is the political will to make that happen.

Madani called on the Middle East Quartet to act as a mediator to halt Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories and pave the way for the establishment of a Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem.

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