Haaretz reportsthat the Quartet tiger opened its mouth to roar…and a yawn was all that came out. Obama, Clinton, Blair, and the NY Times trumpeted the expected contribution the four eminences would shortly be making to Middle East by announcing bridging proposals and reopening of negotiations between the parties. Today, the rubber hit the road and here’s what Haaretz reported:
The “Quartet” of Middle East mediators proposed on Friday that Israel and the Palestinians should meet within one month to agree an agenda for new peace talks with a goal of a deal by the end of 2012.
In a statement, the Quartet — the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia — said it wanted to see comprehensive proposals within three months on territory and security, and substantial progress within six months.
…The brief statement represents a much more limited attempt to restart peace talks than Quartet envoys had once envisioned, and made no proposals to bridge core issues dividing the two sides such as borders, the status of Jerusalem, the fate of Palestinian refugees and the future of Jewish settlements.
The EU’s Ashton, speaking to reporters as the statement was issued, said both the Israelis and the Palestinians were aware of “elements” in the new proposal, but indicated it was not certain that they would sign up for new talks.
Tony Blair came forth with this gem:
Quartet representative and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair added that the statement presents a clear set of steps.
A “clear set of steps?” Signifying what? What has the Quartet offered the Palestinians to come back to negotiations? Why should they? This is worse than useless. They have no ideas on which the four can agree so they express their solemn wish that Israel and the Palestinians will come together to talk. That’s nice. That & a coupla bucks will buy you a latte. Better to dissolve the group if that’s the best they can do.
- Full text of Mideast peace brokers’ statement (vanguardngr.com)