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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened on Thursday evening a meeting in Ramallah

In advance of the release of a report by the Middle East Quartet on the stalemate in Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
The report, compiled by the Quartet - the United States, Russia, United Nations and European Union - is expected to be critical of both Israel and the Palestinians and warn that the two-state solution is in danger due to policies on both sides.
The Palestinians expressed disappointment at the version of the report they had received ahead of the official release on Friday, which stated that Israel and the Palestinians could reach an agreement only through cooperation, and not through unilateral steps. It also said that leadership and vision were lacking so far from the conflict.
Such a report, a senior Palestinian official said, will damage efforts to convene an international conference on Israeli-Palestinian peace. The attempt to cast blame on both sides, he added, was not justified in light of Israel's actions and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's refusal to even discuss the issue of borders.
PLO Secretary General Saeb Erekat spoke Thursday morning with senior representatives of the Quartet and expressed his reservations concerning the wording of the report, Haaretz has learned. Erekat said that the actions of the Israeli government do not allow any possibility of direct negotiations.
In the case that the report does attribute mutual responsibility on Israel and the Palestinians and insists on direct negotiations, the Palestinians will consider cutting off relations with the Quartet as an official body, and will conduct contacts with the individual governments.
On Thursday, UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov briefed the UN Security Council, citing the Quartet report. He urged the Security Council to back the report and aid the Quartet's efforts.
"The main objective of this report is not about assigning blame," Mladenov told the 15-member council. "It focuses on the major threats to achieving a negotiated peace and offers recommendations on the way forward."

Jack Khoury
Haaretz Correspondent
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/.premium-1.728246
Schermata 2016 07 01 alle 09.58.47

Video of the Week New Clashes Erupt Between Israeli Security Forces, Muslim Worshippers

Temple Mount temporarily closed to Jewish visitors after clashes with police

The Temple Mount was temporarily closed to Jewish visitors on Wednesday at the order of Jerusalem District Commander Yoram Halevy after Jews broke visitation rules at the holy site, police said. The Jewish visitors were expelled from the compound for bringing sacred books to the Mount and trying to pray there. After one of the individuals was cautioned, another took out a holy book, and the group was expelled. Meanwhile, renewed clashes erupted between protesters and Israeli security forces near the Lion's Gate in the Old City, where police used stun grenades against the demonstrators. A regular dynamic has developed involving clashes between Palestinians and Israel Police over the past several days near the Lion's Gate. Dozens of Palestinians are present at the site on a regular basis, urging devotion to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and condemning Israel. During Muslim prayer times, particularly the midday and nighttime prayers, hundreds and sometimes even thousands have been gathering there.

There have been outbreaks of violence during these periods, including stone-throwing or physical confrontations with the police. In most of these incidents, the police have been using stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets to disperse the crowds. In a number of cases, journalists in the area have also suffered violence at the hands of the police. On Tuesday, Hassan Shaalan, a reporter for the Ynet news website, was struck by a policeman even after he identified himself as a member of the press. A group of Jerusalem-based journalists released a statement of condemnation over the incident and called on the police to permit reporters to do their jobs. The Jerusalem Police responded: "This involved an incident that took place in the course of violent disturbances of the peace that occurred in Jerusalem while the police were acting to remove the demonstrators from the street after some of them refused to vacate. The forces working on the scene are under constant threat to their lives. http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.802141

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