Peace quartet meets Israel, Palestine

2011-11-14 21:31
Jerusalem - Envoys from the international peacemaking quartet seemed to make no headway on Monday after separate meetings with Israeli and Palestinians officials in a bid to kick-start long-stalled peace talks.

After the talks, Israel extended a freeze on the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority (PA) while the Palestinians restated their demand for a halt to Jewish settlement before talks can resume.

"Envoys continued to encourage the parties to resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or preconditions," a guarded quartet statement.

They "called upon the parties to create a conducive environment for restarting talks and urged the parties to refrain from provocative actions".

A UN official said that the envoys would have another round of meetings with the two sides in December.

But Israel's security cabinet voted on Monday afternoon to maintain a freeze on the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority, imposed after Palestine won Unesco membership.

"There's no change in the decision of November 1, which is for a temporary hold on the transfer of funds to the PA," an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity, after Israeli officials met the quartet envoys.

He did not say whether the tax issue would next be reviewed.

"We are disappointed that the Palestinians are not heeding the call of the quartet for a return to direct peace talks," he added.

Ready for talks

"Israel remains ready for the immediate resumption of talks without preconditions but unfortunately... they continue to raise artificial concerns that prevent the resumption of direct talks."

In a statement after their quartet meeting, the Palestinians repeated their position that talks could not resume without an Israeli settlement freeze and a framework for negotiations.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat called on Israel to accept "clear terms of reference" for any talks, including that discussions would be based on the borders that existed before the 1967 Six Day War.

"We are ready to discuss all final status issues once Israel proves its seriousness and commitment by freezing all its illegal settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory, especially in occupied east Jerusalem," Erakat said.

"We cannot understate the importance of this issue. There is no doubt about the fact that Israeli settlements and the two-state solution are mutually exclusive."

Under the terms of an economic agreement between the sides signed in Paris in 1994, Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority tens of millions of dollars each month in customs duties levied on goods destined for Palestinian markets that transit through Israeli ports.

The remittances constitute a large percentage of the Palestinian budget.

Israeli-Palestinian talks have been on hold for over a year, grinding to a halt shortly after they began in September 2010 over the issue of settlement construction.

The Palestinians say they will not hold negotiations while Israel builds on land it wants for a future state.

Conditions first

Israel has so far refused to renew a partial 10-month settlement freeze, which expired last year and says it will only talk if there are no pre-conditions.

The quartet, composed of the United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia, is trying to bring the two sides back to the table under a proposal laid out in September shortly after the Palestinians submitted a request for full UN state membership.

The proposal sought the resumption of talks within a month, with the goal of an agreement within a year, but there has been no sign of progress so far.

Quartet envoys have already held one round of separate meetings with the two sides, and Washington's envoy David Hale held talks on Sunday night with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas ahead of Monday's discussions.

"Hale offered president Abbas direct negotiations with Israel with the presence of the quartet, but president Abbas told him that he was willing on the condition that Israel halt settlement activity... and agree to the principle of a two-state solution on the 1967 borders," Erakat told AFP on Sunday night.

The Palestinians say that without such guarantees from Israel, the negotiations will simply allow the Jewish state to continue settlement construction and that talks without a clear framework will not result in a final agreement.

Read more on:    mahmoud abbas  |  palestine  |  israel  |  middle east peace
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
4 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 40% off fashion accessories

Save up to 40% on selected handbags, purses, watches, jewellery and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R2000 on top electronics

Get every day mind bowing savings on top electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

As seen on TV - New book releases at only R199 each

Get mind blowing book savings on new titles. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to 50% on Women’s month treats!

Celebrate the awesome women in your life with awesome treats like beauty products, fashion accessories, bestselling books, electronics and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 60% off - clearance sale!

Save up to 60% on appliances, books, electronics, toys, movies and more. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

• Cultivate your intuitive powers – intuition and insight are emphasized today. The focus is still on organisation and...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.