Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Quartet Has Its Head in the Sand

This statement was issued by "The Quartet." It continues a tradition of ignoring reality, rewarding Arab terrorism and intransigence and pretending the Palestinian Arabs are really interested in peace and the establishment of another independent state alongside Jordan and Israel in Palestine.

The statement may be found on the State Department web site.

Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
September 26, 2008

Quartet Statement

The following statement was issued today by the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, European Union, Russian Federation, and the United States):

Begin Text:

Representatives of the Quartet - U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner - met today in New York to discuss the situation in the Middle East. They were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair.

The Quartet reaffirmed its support for the bilateral and comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and commended the parties for their serious and continuous efforts since the Annapolis Conference.

[Given that the Palestinian Authority has yet to move from its initial negotiating position back in 1993, it's hard to see how their efforts can be considered serious.]

The Quartet recognized that a meaningful and results-oriented process is underway and called upon the parties to continue to make every effort to conclude an agreement before the end of 2008.

[There are a few steps that need to be taken before any meaningful agreement is possible, let alone before the end of this year. These start with a complete change in the attitude of the Palestinian Authority, from absolute intransigence to a willingness to compromise, and the establishment of a negotiating partner that actually represents the Palestinian Arabs.]

It noted the significance of this process and the importance of confidentiality in order to preserve its integrity. The Quartet underlined its commitment to the irreversibility of the negotiations; to the creation of an independent, democratic and viable Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, living in peace and security alongside Israel; and to an end to the conflict.

[For negotiations to be irreversible, first there have to be real negotiations. For the creation of another state alongside Jordan and Israel in Palestine, first the Palestinian Arabs have to make it one of their top goals. For an end to the conflict, first both the Palestinian Arabs and the Arabs in general have to accept the existence of Israel.]

The Quartet expressed its desire to see the continuation of the solid negotiating structure, involving substantive discussions on all issues, including core issues without exception, in order to ensure the fulfillment of the Annapolis goals. The Quartet reiterated its previous call for all Palestinians to commit themselves to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations. Restoring Palestinian unity based on the PLO commitments would be an important factor in this process.

[Given that the Palestinian Arabs are really at least two separate people, if they are even a people, it's going to be rather difficult to "restore Palestinian unity."

There is some note of reality in the call for the Palestinian Arabs to "commit themselves to non-violence, recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations." It at least implicitly recognizes that the Palestinian Arabs have reneged on all their previous commitments.]

The Quartet emphasized the need for a renewed focus on improvements in the situation on the ground and stated that visible and tangible progress must accompany the negotiations. The Quartet commended the Palestinian Authority for the encouraging results of its efforts to reform the security sector, to confront militias and terrorism, and to enforce the rule of law in areas subject to its security control.

[Giving such unwarrented praise only feeds the belief by the leaders of the Palestinian Arabs that they can get away with anything. While they've taken some minimal steps towards reducing wanton civil disorder in the territories for which they are responsible (or more properly, irresponsible). They have done nothing to confront terrorism and the Palestinian Authority controlled media still glorifies terrorists and indoctrinates the people with hatred.]

The Quartet commended recent measures by the Israeli government to lift restrictions on access and movement and encouraged further steps to ease conditions for Palestinian civilian life and the economy.

[Until the Palestinian Authority decides to adhere to its commitment to end terrorism, those steps will only facilitate terrorism and ultimately harm not only Israel but the Palestinian Arabs themselves.]

The Quartet called on the parties to re-double their cooperative efforts on security to ensure that both Israelis and Palestinians live in peace and safety. In particular, the Quartet urged the parties to continue cooperation in order to expand the success observed in Jenin to other major centers in the West Bank and called on the international community, including regional partners, to support these efforts with targeted and coordinated assistance and through the continued efforts of Quartet Representative Blair. The Quartet called for speedy implementation of the outcome of the Berlin conference and invited all donors to fulfill the pledges made at the Paris conference in line with the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan. It welcomed the September 22 statement of the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee and recalled the importance of equitable burden-sharing.

[It's interesting that, for all their profession of support for the Palestinian Arabs, the oil-rich Arab states have repeatedly reneged on their commitments to actually help them with anything but the promotion of terrorism.]

The Quartet discussed the status of the parties' obligations under the Roadmap as an integral part of Annapolis follow-up. The Quartet expressed deep concern about increasing settlement activity, which has a damaging impact on the negotiating environment and is an impediment to economic recovery, and called on Israel to freeze all settlement activity, including natural growth, and to dismantle outposts erected since March 2001.

[In other words, Arab intransigence should be rewarded.

This attitude also flies in the face of the meaning of real negotiations, presupposing a particular outcome.

Israel has at least as much legal, historical and moral right to the disputed territories as the Palestinian Arabs. If there is to be any freeze in construction, it should be undertaken equally not only by Israel, but by the Palestinian Arabs.]

In this regard, the Quartet reiterated that the parties must avoid actions that undermine confidence and could prejudice the outcome of the negotiations. Quartet Principals condemned the recent rise in settler violence against Palestinian civilians, urging the enforcement of the rule of law without discrimination or exception. The Quartet also condemned acts of terrorism against Israelis, including any rocket attacks emanating from the Palestinian territories, and stressed the need for further Palestinian efforts to fight terrorism and dismantle the infrastructure of terror, as well as foster an atmosphere of tolerance.

[This implies an equivalence between the extremely rare instances of violence by Israelis against Arabs with the systematic use of terror by the Palestinian Arabs, still encouraged by the very Palestinian Authority that is supposed to fight terror.]

The Quartet commended Egypt for its endeavor to overcome Palestinian divisions and to reunite Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza under the legitimate Palestinian Authority.

[At the present time, it's highly questionable whether there is any "legitimate Palestinian Authority."]

The Quartet welcomed the continuing calm between Gaza and southern Israel, which has largely persisted for over three months and expressed its hope that this calm will result in further relief for the civilian population of Gaza, including the regular opening of the crossings for both humanitarian and commercial flows, and sustained peace on Israel's southern border. The Quartet stated its expectation that movement of persons and goods will be normalized in the coming months, as foreseen in the Agreement on Movement and Access, and expressed its strong support for the immediate resumption of stalled UN and other donor projects in Gaza. This will facilitate economic activity, reduce dependence on humanitarian assistance, and restore links between Gaza and the West Bank. The Quartet welcomed the offer by the EU to resume its monitoring mission at the Rafah crossing point. The Quartet called for the immediate and unconditional release of Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit.

[It would be nice if the Palestinian Arabs in Hamastan actually abided by the cease fire and stopped launching Kassam missiles and stopped preparing for future terror offensives.]

The Quartet welcomed efforts toward comprehensive regional peace and stability, including Turkey's facilitation of indirect Israeli-Syrian negotiations. It expressed hope for an intensification of these talks with the goal of achieving peace in accordance with the Madrid terms of reference. The Quartet noted the importance of the Arab Peace Initiative as a major element in moving the process forward and re-affirmed its support for a just, lasting, and comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on U.N. Security Council Resolutions 242, 338, 1397, and 1515.

[Unfortunately, the provisions of the so-called "Arab Peace Initiative" conflict the the provisions of those Security Council Resoltions.]

The Quartet expressed its intention to work closely with the parties in the important period ahead. The Quartet agreed that the spring of 2009 could be an appropriate time for an international meeting in Moscow.

[Perhaps by then Russia will end its occupation of parts of Georgia as well as its support of the Iranian effort to develop a nuclear bomb.]

The Quartet noted with appreciation the parties' suggestion to brief the Quartet on their ongoing negotiation process, with due regard for the confidential and bilateral nature of the discussions. The Quartet expressed its interest in coordinating such a meeting for a mutually accepted time.

End text.


Released on September 26, 2008

One-sided, at best naive statements like this are actually an impediment to peace.

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