Arab nations: Quartet report biased

Arab nations call on Security Council not to endorse Quartet report because the Palestinians view it as biased in favor of Israel.

Ben Ariel ,

Riyad Mansour
Riyad Mansour

Arab nations are calling on the UN Security Council not to endorse the recently released Quartet report aimed at reviving the Middle East peace process, because the Palestinians view it as biased in favor of Israel, the Palestinian envoy said Tuesday, according to AFP.

The report by the Middle East quartet – comprised of the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States – calls on Israel to halt its construction in Judea and Samaria, but also calls on the Palestinians to stop inciting to violence and terrorism.

Arab diplomats agreed during a recent meeting to try to block any move by the council to adopt a U.S.-drafted statement backing the report's recommendations, the Palestinian Authority (PA) UN Riyad Mansour told reporters.

Egypt, which represents the Arab group on the council, was told "not to allow a statement to be adopted welcoming and endorsing the recommendations," Mansour said as the council met to discuss the report, according to AFP.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the council to throw its weight behind the quartet's findings despite strong resistance from Israel and the Palestinians.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected the Quartet's equating between Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria and the Palestinian incitement to terror. The PA argues that the report failed to single out Israeli policies as the leading cause of the violence.

Mansour suggested that recommendations concerning Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria were watered down in the final draft of the report by a "very powerful" member of the Quartet, in a reference to the United States.

He further claimed this was done to undermine a French initiative to hold an international peace conference later this year and to ensure that "the end result would be Israel is gaining and nothing will happen."

The Palestinians want the Security Council to "take note" of the report and welcome French and Egyptian initiatives to revive peace talks but it must not endorse it, said the envoy.

Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon, meanwhile, stressed that direct negotiations were the only path to achieve peace.

"Plans for an international initiative which seeks to impose a solution on the two sides send exactly the wrong message,” said Danon, according to AFP.

"It tells the Palestinians they can achieve all the goals while continuing to encourage terror and refuse to even talk to Israel," he added.

Mansour responded that the Palestinians have "moved from bad to worse" over years of bilateral negotiations, adding:,"We are not going to do that again."

The French initiative would ensure that there is a collective approach to ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said Mansour.

Israel has rejected the initiative and insists that the only way to achieve peace is by direct negotiations with the PA.