Israel nod for Quartet peace plan, urges Palestinian acceptance

October 2nd, 2011 - 11:52 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Jerusalem, Oct 2 (IANS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior cabinet ministers Sunday signed off on a Middle East Quartet formula for a return to talks with the Palestinians, and called on the Palestinian National Authority’s leadership to do likewise.

“Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations without pre-conditions with the Palestinian Authority, which was already suggested by U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though Israel has a number of reservations which it will bring up in the negotiations,” said a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, reported Xinhua.

“Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to follow suit and to immediately join direct negotiations,” the statement read, which would, ideally, lead to agreements on border and security arrangements within three months, and a final agreement in about one year.

PNA officials said President Mahmoud Abbas was reviewing the proposal and would provide an official response after the weekend. The Quartet is comprised of the United States, the United Nations, Russia, and the European Union.

“We found some encouraging details in the proposal, such as a rigid timetable,” a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) statement said of the proposal.

But the Palestinians are disappointed at the Quartet for not taking a firm position after Israel approved the construction of 1,100 housing units in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians view as the capital of their future state.

The group should respect its statement that urged Israel and the Palestinians to resume the negotiations, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, said last Wednesday.

Soon after Abbas formally presented the application letter seeking UN recognition of Palestine as a full member state on Sep 23, the Quartet called for Israel and the Palestinians to resume talks within one month and agree on “an agenda and method of proceeding in the negotiation” with an aim to reach an agreement by the end of 2012.

The PLO leadership later slammed the plan, as it “neglected the Palestinian demands of halting Jewish settlement activities in the West Bank and east Jerusalem”.

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