Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior cabinet ministers
Sunday signed off on a Middle East Quartet formula for a return to
talks with the Palestinians, and called on the Palestinian
National Authority's leadership to do likewise.
"Israel welcomes the Quartet's call for direct negotiations
without pre-conditions with the Palestinian Authority, which was
already suggested by U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, even though Israel has a number of
reservations which it will bring up in the negotiations," said a
statement from the Prime Minister's Office, reported Xinhua.
"Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to follow suit and to
immediately join direct negotiations," the statement read, which
would, ideally, lead to agreements on border and security
arrangements within three months, and a final agreement in about
PNA officials said President Mahmoud Abbas was reviewing the
proposal and would provide an official response after the weekend.
The Quartet is comprised of the United States, the United Nations,
Russia, and the European Union.
"We found some encouraging details in the proposal, such as a
rigid timetable," a Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)
statement said of the proposal.
But the Palestinians are disappointed at the Quartet for not
taking a firm position after Israel approved the construction of
1,100 housing units in east Jerusalem, where Palestinians view as
the capital of their future state.
The group should respect its statement that urged Israel and the
Palestinians to resume the negotiations, Yasser Abed Rabbo, a
member of the PLO Executive Committee, said last Wednesday.
Soon after Abbas formally presented the application letter seeking
UN recognition of Palestine as a full member state on Sep 23, the
Quartet called for Israel and the Palestinians to resume talks
within one month and agree on "an agenda and method of proceeding
in the negotiation" with an aim to reach an agreement by the end
The PLO leadership later slammed the plan, as it "neglected the
Palestinian demands of halting Jewish settlement activities in the
West Bank and east Jerusalem".