Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Palestinian Authority Demands Activating Role of Int’l Quartet

Palestinian Authority Demands Activating Role of Int’l Quartet

Monday, 26 July, 2021 - 09:15
Israeli PM Bennett (C) and FM Lapid (L) during a cabinet meeting on Sunday. (AP)

The Palestinian Authority has called for activating the role of the International Quartet, which has been almost frozen for several years.

“We demand that the role of the International Quartet be activated, and we support the Russian invitation for a ministerial-level meeting for this committee,” announced member of the Fatah Central Committee and Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein al-Sheikh.

Earlier this month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for activating the work of the Quartet on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Moscow is working to organize a meeting of the Quartet, which includes the US, Russia, European Union and UN, at the level of foreign ministers.

A Palestinian source told Asharq Al-Awsat that Washington does not want to launch any initiatives of any kind at this time and prefers to wait, fearing that pressure will cause the collapse of the government in Israel.

The source emphasized that attempts to revive the Quartet have been in place for a long time, without success.

He added that the PA officially requested the revival of the Quartet and confirmed its willingness to engage in negotiations under its sponsorship but has not received an answer.

The Quartet was formed in 2002 to sponsor the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, but it ended because the parties believed its role was ineffective.

The Trump administration refused to activate its role unless the Palestinians agreed to a peace solution according to his so-called “deal of the century” proposal.

The committee held its first meeting on March 24 after Joe Biden assumed the presidency. It called for resuming meaningful negotiations based on a two-state solution in line with international resolutions.

The PA is counting on a more active US role amid attempts to strengthen the authority politically and economically.

The ruling coalition in Israel, meanwhile, appears so far unqualified to take major steps. At the moment, the government is focused on approving a new budget in November before making political proposals.

Israeli officials on Sunday predicted that PM Naftali Bennett’s government may collapse after the approval of the budget due to American demands related to the Palestinians.

Israel Hayom newspaper reported that the Biden administration had postponed all requests regarding Israel’s contribution to the Palestinian issue until after the government approves the budget.

A right-wing source told the newspaper some of the demands the White House is expected to make could lead to the government’s resignation. These demands include plans to reopen an embassy to the Palestinians in Jerusalem, in what would offer de facto recognition of Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state.

This development could spark sharp criticism from right-wing members of the coalition, leading to the government’s demise. The official said that as soon as the budget is approved, disagreements would rise, making it harder to overcome internal tensions.

Members of the coalition, such as Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, want to launch negotiations with the Palestinians. Bennett and Gideon Saar, however, do not believe in negotiations or the Palestinians’ right to a state.

Israeli analyst Yoni Ben Menachem said Bennett is not interested in the return of negotiations with the PA.

The government could also face external opposition, as the coalition is expected to be met with fierce criticism from the parliament, which is likely to witness sharp divisions over proposed laws.

Editor Picks