Quartet expresses concern over Gaza

Members of the Middle East Quartet meet in Jerusalem, express concern over the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Ben Ariel ,

Gaza border fence
Gaza border fence
Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Members of the Middle East Quartet met in Jerusalem on Thursday as part of their efforts to resume peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

The Quartet is made up of Russia, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

In a statement released following the meeting, the group said it “expressed serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and discussed current efforts to resolve the crisis.”

The envoys “agreed to meet again and to continue their regular engagement with Israelis and Palestinians, and key regional stakeholders,” the statement added.

The Quartet has been on the sidelines in recent years, allowing the U.S. to spearhead efforts to broker an Israel-PA deal.

Those efforts failed in 2014 when the PA unilaterally applied to join international organizations in breach of the conditions of the talks.

Last year, the Quartet released a report in which it called on Israel to halt its construction in Judea and Samaria, but also called on the PA to stop inciting to violence and terrorism.

Thursday’s meeting marked the first time that the Quartet envoys met since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January.

The meeting comes amid efforts by Trump to renew talks. As part of those efforts, his envoy Jason Greenblatt visited the region this week. He met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as well as with PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement on Gaza comes several days after the UN's top humanitarian official warned that Gaza may already be "unlivable".

The enclave, which Hamas has ruled with an iron fist since 2007, is suffering from electrical shortages due to the ongoing feud between Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah movement.