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Palestinian president slams ‘quartet’ report

7th Jul 2016
Palestinian president slams ‘quartet’ report

By Anees Bargouthi

 

RAMALLAH, Palestine (AA): Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday slammed a recent report issued by the Middle East “quartet” (comprised of the U.S., the UN, the EU and Russia) on the moribund Palestine-Israel peace process.

“The report… does not fulfill its mission nor will it lead to peace,” Abbas said after preforming Eid al-Fitr prayers in Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority’s administrative capital in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

First released last week, the report — which issued a number of recommendations for moving the peace process forward — neither called on Israel to withdraw from occupied Palestinian territory nor described ongoing Israeli settlement-building activity as illegal.

“This report is very disappointing,” Abbas said. “We call on the UN Security Council not to support it.”

Peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians have been suspended since 2014, when Israel reiterated its refusal to halt illegal settlement construction and withdraw from lands occupied in 1967.

Abbas also cited recent statements by the US State Department regarding an Israeli decision to build 800 new settlement units on occupied Arab land.

“The Palestinians want to be told that the settlements are illegitimate and illegal and should end,” he said.

On Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said plans for new settlement units in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem raised questions about Israel’s commitment to peace.

“If true, this report [about new settlement building] would be the latest step in what seems to be a systematic process of land seizures, settlement expansions and legalizations of [settler] outposts that is fundamentally undermining the prospects for a two-state solution,” Kirby told reporters on Tuesday.

 

{Photo: Members of Quartet on the Middle East, from left to right, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Special Envoy Tony Blair pose for photographers before a meeting on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, on February 1, 2014. [State Department photo / Public Domain]

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