Quartet backs Egypt’s truce efforts


The “Quartet” supports Egyptian efforts to broker a truce in the Gaza Strip, implicitly recognizing Hamas’ role as a negotiator.

Egypt is attempting to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas, the terrorist group which controls Gaza and has enabled rocket fire on Israel’s south. In response, Israel has imposed a blockade on the strip.

Egypt says it is close to securing an agreement on a six-month truce. Israel has been skeptical of such a deal, believing it allows Hamas time to regroup.

“Principals strongly encouraged Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Egypt to work together to formulate a new approach on Gaza that would provide security to all Gazans, end all acts of terror, provide for the controlled and sustained opening of the Gaza crossings for humanitarian reasons and commercial flows,” said the Quartet statement released in London. Condoleezza Rice, the U.S. secretary of state, was there to meet with her counterparts in the diplomatic foursome of the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations.

The United States and Israel have tacitly approved Egypt’s efforts, but Friday’s statement by was the first formal approval of the mediation. As such, it edged Hamas closer to recognition as a negotiating party. Israel and the West have until now rejected that status until Hamas recognizes Israel’s existence and forswears terrorism.

The Quartet statement also called on Israel to freeze settlement activity.

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