Middle East Quartet: Israel and Palestinians must confront violence
Peacekeepers, better known as the Middle East Quartet, have called on Israel and the Palestinians to address a number of challenges, ending violence in the West Bank, expanding Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories and failing to sustain the fiscal crisis in the Palestinian Authority.A statement issued after the meetings of the envoys of the four from the UN, the USA, the European Union and Russia in the Norwegian capital Oslo, welcomed the steps announced by Israel to help the Palestinian Authority in the crisis, the Associated Press reports today.

The envoys, however, said they remained “deeply concerned about developments in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip”.

“In this context, the Quartet emphasizes the urgent need for all parties to take additional steps to address the challenges directly through fiscal and other reforms, and to avoid unilateral steps that increase tensions and undermine the prospects for peace,” the statement said.

The envoys stressed the urgent need to address the sensitive situation in Gaza by continuing humanitarian efforts and facilitating access and restrictions on the movement of people and goods, and called for the support of all actors, including those in the region.

The “importance of respecting human rights and the actions of civil society groups” was also emphasized.

The four Middle East peace mediators were established in 2002 and have been criticized for failing to persuade either Israel or the Palestinian Authority to change their policies and negotiate an end to the decade-long conflict.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in January that there was “reason to hope” for progress towards ending the conflict after several years of inactivity.

Some observers have seen that there is a possibility for that after the end of the mandate of Donald Trump and the inauguration of the new president of the USA, Joseph Biden.

However, in May this year, a fourth war broke out between Israel and the extremist Islamic Hamas that rules Gaza and lasted 11 days.

As the year draws to a close, there is no progress towards peace.

For more than three decades, Palestinians have sought to establish an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories conquered by Israel in the 1967 war.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, but two years later imposed a paralyzing blockade after Hamas forcibly took power from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The envoys of the four stressed the importance of taking steps towards a two-state solution and agreed to work to end the conflict and continue consultations with parties and key actors in the region.

By Editor

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