The United States on Tuesday blocked a Quartet move to impose on Israel a final status plan for the Palestinian Authority. Foreign media had reported that the initiative would re-start the ”peace process.”
Britain, France and Germany were behind the initiative for the meeting of the Quartet, comprised of the United States, the United Nations, Russia and the European Union.
The “final status” proposal in effect is an adoption of the PA agenda, although the PA agreed several years ago to achieve final status through negotiations with Israel. Instead, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has adopted a different strategy, that of gaining international support for a PA state that would include land on which more than 500,000 Jews now live, in United Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, precluding negotiations.
U.S. President Barack Obama and his advisers accept in principle the PA demands, but an American diplomat told the Associated Press, “It wasn't the right time” for a meeting. The Obama administration essentially is playing both sides of the fence, opposing a Jewish presence on the land restored to Israel in the Six Day War in 1967 but stalling pro-Arab pressure to force the issue.
European diplomats did not officially react to the American stand against a meeting, but one official told the news agency that the Quartet needs to take the lead from the United States to resume Israeli-PA talks.
After reports that the United States blocked the proposal, senior PA negotiator Saeb Erekat warned it would encourage Israel to build more homes for Jews, "in a way destroying any chance of peace."
Abbas called off direct talks with Israel nearly two years ago, despite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s unprecedented agreement for a 10-month halt of construction of new homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria.
Abbas balked at the offer, which was made to meet his condition for talks. Abbas then said it was not extensive enough and should cover all areas in Jerusalem that the PA claims as the seat of its proposed capital of a new Arab country.
He has demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu accept a PA state along the 1949 Armistice Lines but has not clarified what issues are open for “negotiation.”
Despite the conditions set down by Abbas, both AP and the French news agency AFP reported that the European proposal was designed to rejuvenate the “peace process“, which has become a code word meaning no process, just a Palestinian Authority country based on PA demands.
AFP reported that the talks ended in late September “when Israel refused to extend a moratorium on settlement building” in what the news agency refers to as “the occupied territories.” However, the same report did not note that the "direct talks” consisted of a one-time, three-hour "photo-op" meeting orchestrated by President Obama following a year of Abbas’ refusal to sit down with the Netanyahu government.