Last updated: 27 October, 2011

Quartet seeks Israel-Palestinian peace proposals

Talks between envoys of the international peacemaking Quartet and Israeli and Palestinian officials in Jerusalem ended with a pledge to introduce “comprehensive proposals” but no deal on new peace talks.

In a statement released late on Wednesday, the peacemaking group, which comprises the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, said its envoys had met separately with both sides in a bid to kickstart long-stalled negotiations.

Last month, the Quartet called for talks to begin by October 23, a deadline that has already passed, with the goal of reaching a deal within a year.

But Israel and the Palestinians interpreted the call differently, with Israel saying the Quartet sought talks without preconditions and the Palestinians saying the group supported their demand for a freeze to settlement construction.

The talks on Wednesday did not include any Israeli-Palestinian interaction, and ended with both sides expressing “their readiness to engage with the Quartet,” the group’s statement said.

“The parties agreed with the Quartet to come forward with comprehensive proposals on territory and security within three months in the context of our shared commitment to the objective of direct negotiations leading toward an agreement by the end of 2012,” the statement added.

The Quartet set out its proposed timeline for new talks on September 23, the same day the Palestinians submitted their bid to join the UN as a member state.

But so far the framework has failed to get off the ground, with Israel saying talks should start without preconditions and the Palestinians refusing to talk without a clear framework and a freeze to Israeli settlement construction.

Negotiations have been on hold since late September 2010, when they ground to a halt shortly after they were relaunched in Washington, also over the issue of settlement construction.