Quartet Presents Outline of Israel-Palestine Report to UN: Solution Cannot Be Imposed From the Outside
Though the Quartet's UN envoy notes the 'stark absence of leadership and vision' from the conflict, he adds that it can only be solved through bilateral negotiations. Report to focus on terrorism and incitement, settlement policy and situation in Gaza.
The Middle East Quartet's UN representative presented the key findings of a report on the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday, noting the "stark absence of leadership and vision from the conflict" but also adding that a solution could not be imposed from the outside.
According to the representative, Nickolay Mladenov, the report from the Quartet, comprising the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union, discusses three major roadblocks to peace: Continuing terrorism and incitement, ongoing settlement expansion and the situation in Gaza and lack of control by the Palestinian Authority.
"The main object isn't to assign blame," Mladenov said the report. The goal, he commented, is the outline a way forward to peace.
The quartet report also specifically calls on Israel to change its policies in Area C of the West Bank, but also reiterates that an agreement could only be reached through bilateral talks.
"No solution can be reached by forcing solutions from the outside," said Mladenov.
Senior diplomats from the U.S., EU, UN and Russia have worked to draft the report over the past three months. The person in charge of actually writing it was the American special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, Frank Lowenstein, in coordination with EU envoy Fernando Gentilini, UN envoy Mladenov and Russian envoy Sergey Vershinin.
Mladenov told the UNSC on Thursday that he hoped that the full text of the report would be released Friday morning.
Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made last-ditch diplomatic efforts to soften the expectedly harsh criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank. Netanyahu’s goal was to make the report as balanced as possible in terms of the criticism leveled at each side and the degree of responsibility assigned to each for the impasse in the peace process.
The Quartet foreign ministers decided to draft the report at a meeting in Munich last February, spurred by the stalemate in the Israeli-Palestinian diplomatic process, the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank and the French peace initiative. A statement published after that meeting raised the possibility — for the first time — of cooperation between the Quartet and the UN Security Council. That sparked fears in Israel that the Quartet report was intended as a prelude to a more far-reaching move on the Israeli-Palestinian issue at the Security Council.