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Abbas Turns Down Quartet, Demands Agreement before ‘Talks’

Abbas, after rebuffing Obama, now rejects the Quartet’s proposal for resuming talks because it does not include pre-conditions.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 9/25/2011, 8:47 AM

Pictures of Abbas in Ramallah rally
Pictures of Abbas in Ramallah rally
Flash 90

Abbas, after rebuffing President Barack Obama, now has taken on the Quartet and rejected its proposal for resuming talks with Israel because it does not include pre-conditions.

The Quartet – the United States, United Nations, Russia and the European Union – set a timetable for an agenda for peace talks within a month and concrete proposals within three months. It also set the end of 2012 as a new deadline for an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

PA Foreign Minister Riad Maliki quickly rejected the idea as “incomplete” because it does not call on Israel to halt all development in Judea and Samaria and areas of Jerusalem claimed by the Palestinian Authority.

The closest the Quartet came to satisfying Abbas’ demand for a halt to Israeli development was a statement that “the Quartet calls upon the parties to refrain from provocative actions if negotiations are to be effective. The Quartet reiterated the obligations of both parties under the road map.”

“The only new thing that the Quartet carries is a time line for discussing the issues of security and borders,” Maliki said. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he is considering the Quartet proposal and added he could consider another building freeze. “I am willing to talk about it," he told CNN.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday morning he thinks Israel should accept the Quartet’s latest attempt to bring Abbas back to the negotiating table.

However, the Palestinian Authority effectively has rejected any compromise and wants Israel to agree in advance to its demands before sitting down for talks, which presumably would be aimed at simply signing an agreement.