Archive for the ‘Quartet’ Category


The idea that “direct, bilateral negotiations are the only viable path to achieve an enduring peace,” is repeated often in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The truth of it is obvious; any

(L-R) Quartet Representative Tony Blair, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and EU representative Catherine Ashton

lasting agreement will require the full buy-in from both Israelis and Palestinians, and it is unlikely that an imposed settlement of the conflict would hold. The frequency with which this axiom is repeated suggests that an imposition of an agreement by outside actors such as the United Nations, the European Union or even the United States is a real possibility. In fact, virtually no one seriously suggests that an agreement simply be imposed on Israelis and Palestinians.

The real issue is how the statement is defined. In general terms, supporters of Israeli policies take this rule to mean that no pressure should be brought upon Israel, as any such pressure is seen as undermining bilateral negotiations. Opponents of Israel’s occupation, on the other hand, tend to see outside pressure, in the form of international diplomacy or economic pressure, as crucial to incentivizing both sides into serious negotiations and toward making the difficult compromises necessary to achieve a final agreement. Read more at FMEP’s web site

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This piece was originally published at LobeLog

The anticipated meeting of the Middle East Quartet (the United States, Russian Federation, United Nations and European Union) took place Monday. The result was what has become pretty standard for Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy and peacemaking: nothing.

(L-R) Quartet Representative Tony Blair, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, and EU representative Catherine Ashton

The Quartet is incapable of doing anything unless the US can do something, and the US refuses to take any action outside the realm of “direct negotiations between” the Israelis and Palestinians. The goal of this meeting was to try to come up with a formula that would bring the Israelis and Palestinians back to the table.

The failure to come up with that formula led to the Quartet ending the meeting without a statement. There was simply nothing to say.

The Europeans pushed for this meeting, which the US had hoped to postpone to gain more time to bring the Palestinians back to the table. Perhaps it was the American inability to do that which prompted the EU’s insistence; that’s certainly fair speculation.   (more…)

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