Israel, Palestinians spar on Quartet deal

The Palestinians on Sunday dismissed Israel’s welcome of a Quartet call for the resumption of peace talks, saying the peace proposal requires Israel to halt settlement construction, after France’s foreign minister said that Quartet’s initiative had failed.

Palestinians sit in front of candles laid out representing the number '194' in Ramallah as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas submits a formal request for Palestine to become the 194th member of the UN on Sept. 20. AFP photo

Palestinians sit in front of candles laid out representing the number '194' in Ramallah as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas submits a formal request for Palestine to become the 194th member of the UN on Sept. 20. AFP photo

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat, said a statement issued by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office was “an exercise in deceiving the international community.” “If he accepts the Quartet statement then he must announce a halt to settlement activity, including natural growth, and accept the principle of the 1967 borders because this is what was clearly demanded by the Quartet statement.” Erakat spoke after Israel said it welcomed the call from the international grouping for peace talks to begin within a month, with the goal of reaching a deal before the end of 2012.

Meanwhile, France’s foreign minister said Saturday that an initiative of the international Quartet on Israeli-Palestinian peace had failed and urged the resumption of negotiations. “The initiative of the Quartet” of the U.S., U. N., EU and Russia, which announced a bid Friday to renew peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, “did not succeed,” minister Alain Juppe said at a press conference with his Italian counterpart Franco Frattini. “We think that the status quo is dangerous for everybody and that it is necessary to return to the negotiating table,” he said.

Frattini, for his part, said the EU should “continue to push the two parties to urgently restart negotiations.” The Quartet’s proposal calls for talks to begin within a month, for both sides to produce concrete ideas on security and borders within three months and for a final deal to be reached before the end of 2012.

Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff

Sunday, October 2, 2011
JERUSALEM – BORDEAUX, France