CMEP Bulletin: ME Quartet Comes to Washington, Letter to the President, and More
Middle East Quartet to Play in Washington, July 11
The Middle East Quartet, made up of the US, EU, UN, and Russia, will meet in Washington on July 11, Israeli and European officials announced this week. The gathering is part of an effort to avoid a confrontation at the Unite Nations in September over the issue of UN recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines.
European members of the Quartet have been pressuring the U.S. to put forward a plan for compromise and urging Israel to agree to negotiations on a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines with modifications, as suggested by President Obama in his May 19 speech.
In turn, the U.S. has sent negotiators Dennis Ross from the White House and David Hale of the State Department to the region. They have met twice recently with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In public statements, the prime minister has stressed the need for prior recognition of Israel as a Jewish state by the PA. Palestinians ultimately may recognize the Jewish character of Israel, provided other key issues like borders, security, the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and Israeli recognition of Palestinian sovereignty in East Jerusalem are resolved at the same time.
The question of recognition of Israel as a Jewish state addresses a deep concern about longer-term demographic changes that are distinct from military security concerns. It seems quite possible that skillful negotiators could come up with a set of conditions that would satisfy the political needs of both sides, provided there is in fact a genuine interest on both sides in resolving the conflict, and willingness to override minorities on both sides that fear peace.
Click here to continue reading this CMEP Bulletin, including the following items:
- Christian leaders appeal to the President for more engagement
- Pressures on Netanyahu
- Hints of compromise
- Palestinian disunity and competition
- Gilad Shalit and Israeli prisoners