The Jordan Times (Editorial)
July 18, 2011 - 12:00am

The recent meeting in Washington of the Quartet, made up of the US, Russia, the EU and the UN, ended without the usual statement calling on the Palestinians and Israelis to resume peace talks.

This suggests that there is a rift among the members of the group who are represented by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. Only that could explain why such statement was not issued.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas commented on the failure of the Quartet to come up with any statement at the end of its meeting: “The fact that there is no statement from the Quartet is a negative indication that there is a deep division” among them.

The Russian foreign minister downplayed this omission and disputed the Palestinian assessment, but could not offer the Palestinians any assurance that the grouping would work towards seeing the stalemated peace negotiations resume before the September UN General Assembly session during which the Palestinians are determined to push for UN recognition of a state of their own.

Even more frustrating and dismaying was US President Barack Obama’s recent remark that it is up to the parties to decide when and under what conditions to resume talks.

This hands-off US policy only reinforces the feeling that the Palestinians are left with no choice but to call on the UN General Assembly to recognise an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank, Israel’s position notwithstanding.

If this happens, the stake for peace between Israel and the Palestinians will have been raised, and changed, and the world community will find itself in a worse dilemma.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017