NEW YORK – The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which was the focal point of the 66th UN General Assembly in New York, saw more than just the historic bid for Palestinian statehood and impassioned speeches, but also the near-disassembling of the Mideast Quartet, Ynet learned on Saturday.
The Quartet of Middle East mediators, which is made up of the he United States, Russia, the European Union and the UN, worked frantically throughout Thursday and Friday to put together a blueprint which would facilitate the resumption of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but their efforts nearly brought about the forum's end, with Russia facing off against the United States over the Quartet's draft.
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The Quartet's draft proposed that Israel and the Palestinians should meet within one month to agree on an agenda for new peace talks, aiming to reach a deal by the end of 2012.
According to Western diplomats, the Quartet's integrity was compromised when deliberations on the draft became heated, mainly due to Russia's rigid demands.
The Quartet (Photo:AP)
The Russians vetoed Israel's demand for Palestinian recognition of the Jewish state as a prerequisite for the talks, which led to the dismissal of the Palestinian prerequisite demand for the negotiations to be based on the 1967 lines.
- For full coverage of PA's statehood bid click here
After what was described as "harsh, discordant tones" exchanged between the Russians and their Quartet colleagues – which were accompanied by concerns that the former would be excluded from the final Quartet statement – a draft was finally completed.
The blueprint, however, did not specify the exact guidelines for the negotiations, and de facto fails to address both Israel and the Palestinian's cardinal demands.
"The proposal contains the most important thing – resuming negotiations," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's associates told Ynet. "We have to study it, but it looks satisfactory."
The Palestinians, however, rejected the draft as "favorable to Israel," and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has dismissed it, saying he would not entertain any proposal which disregards the PA's conditions for peace talks.
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