Quartet pushes regional involvement in peace process


TEL AVIV (JTA) — The diplomatic Quartet tasked with advancing Israeli-Palestinian peace called for regional involvement in a renewed peace initiative.

The statement Wednesday night by the Quartet — comprised of the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union — came following Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ speech Wednesday to the U.N. General Assembly, where he said the P.A. would not be bound by its agreements with Israel.

The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to a two-state solution, and said it would consult with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Arab League in hopes of restarting negotiations. It also touted the Arab Peace Initiative, a framework first proposed in 2002 by the Arab League that has Israel returning to its pre-1967 borders in return for peace.

“The Quartet stressed the importance of continued support from key stakeholders in the region,” the statement said, noting “the significance and importance of the Arab Peace Initiative with its vision for a comprehensive settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the opportunity for building a regional security framework.”

The statement expressed concern regarding recent violence on the Temple Mount and called on Israel to halt settlement expansion. It also called on the P.A. to invest in governance and national institutions, stop incitement against Israel, and achieve unity with Hamas, the militant group that governs Gaza. It praised Israel for taking recent steps to improve the Palestinians’ quality of life.

“The Quartet underscored that the status quo is not sustainable and stressed the importance of both sides demonstrating, through policies and actions, a genuine commitment to a two-State solution in order to rebuild trust and avoid a cycle of escalation,” the statement said.

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