WASHINGTON - The Middle East Quartet expressed concern on Monday over "ongoing settler violence and incitement in the West Bank" and called on Israel
to take "effective measures, including bringing the perpetrators of such acts to justice.
Senior Quartet officials, including United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov,
United States Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
and European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton
— met in Washington, where they expressed concern about "unilateral and provocative" actions by the Palestinians or Israel, including "continued settlement activity, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations, the only way to a just and durable solution to the conflict."
The officials were joined by Quartet Representative Tony Blair and by Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh.
In a statement issued following the meeting, the senior diplomats called on the international community to ensure the contribution of $1.1 billion in assistance to meet the Palestinian Authority’s 2012 recurrent financing requirements.
The Quartet noted with concern the "increasing fragility of developments on the ground and called on the parties to work constructively together to take concrete steps to address the Palestinian Authority’s fiscal challenges, preserve and build on the Palestinian Authority’s institutional gains, and expand economic opportunities for the Palestinian people."
The Quartet reaffirmed its commitment to "examine possible mechanisms it can actively support going forward, individually and together, to advance peace efforts and strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s ability to meet the full range of civil and security needs of the Palestinian people both now and in a future state."
The diplomats urged the Authority to "fight violent extremism" and "end incitement." It condemned the rocket attacks from Gaza
and stressed the need for "calm and security for both peoples." The Quartet also underscored the "importance of continued steps to address the needs of Gaza’s residents," and welcomed the Israeli government’s approval of UN priority infrastructure projects in the Hamas-ruled territory.
"The Quartet considers that the situation in and around Gaza remains fragile and unsustainable as long as the West Bank and Gaza are not reunited under the legitimate Palestinian Authority adhering to the PLO commitments," the statement read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the Quartet's call to resume negotiations without preconditions. The PM's Office issued a statement saying that during next week's meeting with a delegation of senior Palestinian officials Netanyahu will suggest holding direct negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.