[Ed. note – The British newspaper The Independent (hat tip Blake) has published a report underscoring what we pretty much already knew: that Israel had engaged in heavy lobbying of Quartet members in order to water down the report just issued. Here are a few key quotes from the story:
Compiled by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, diplomatic sources had suggested the Quartet of Middle East mediators’ report would contain a severe denunciation of the Jewish state’s policies towards the Palestinian territories.
But once concerns about its contents reached Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, officials say he was determined to dissuade those behind the document, according to Reuters.
He then flew to Moscow to visit President Vladimir Putin, then met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Rome.
Upon publication, while the report criticised Israeli continued building of settlements, it did not call it illegal.
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the focus on Palestinian incitement showed the Quartet had attempted to “equalise the responsibilities between a people under occupation and a foreign military occupier”.
According to Reuters, a number of American, European and UN diplomats agreed with Mr Erekat’s view that the international community had given in.
“There’s just no appetite to go toe-to-toe with Israel and deliver a really harsh indictment,” one European ambassador said. “No one sees the upside to it.”
In other words, no one sees the upside to making a serious effort at halting a genocide taking place in front of our eyes. If this doesn’t convince you of the truth of certain “anti-Semitic tropes” about Jewish power, then you simply are among those with “no eyes to see,” as Jesus put it.
Apartheid in South Africa fell for one very simple reason: the South African whites did not have even a fraction of the power that Jewish lobbies now exercise over world leaders. Pity the poor Palestinians. Pity all of us. ]
Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has asked the UN Security Council to reject Friday’s key report released by the diplomatic quartet, a group tasked with finding a peace deal between Israel and Palestine.
Palestinian leaders say that the quartet’s report (the group is made up of the US, UN, EU and Russia officials) unfairly heaps equal blame on both Israel and Palestinians, despite the fact that the former has illegally occupied the West Bank since 1967.
Abbas said in a statement that the report “does not further the cause for peace”, which the quartet is tasked with pursuing.
“We hope that the Security Council does not support this report,” he added.
The report was published on Friday and condemns both Israel’s illegal settlement building in the occupied Palestinian territories and “Palestinian incitement to violence”.
Both Israel and the Palestinians have described the report as “unfair”.
Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat described the report as an “attempt to equalise the responsibilities between people under occupation and the foreign military occupier”.
The report’s findings and recommendations are supposed to serve as the basis for reviving the Israeli-Palestinian peace process that has been comatose since a US initiative collapsed in April 2014.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also rejected the report, calling it a “myth” that settlement building in the occupied West Bank is an obstacle to peace.
There was no formal response from the quartet but a source involved with the report said Wednesday there were positives to be drawn from the responses.
“If both president Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu find the report disturbing, then the report must contain some truths that both are uncomfortable with,” he said.
A Palestinian official said they would no longer deal with the quartet as a body, but would continue to work with its four members individually.
“It’s not only about the report, it’s more than that – but the report confirms how useless (the quartet) is,” the official said.
There has been growing alarm about the construction of Jewish settlements on land earmarked to be part of a future Palestinian state are killing off prospects for a deal. Meanwhile, violence has flared up between Palestinians, Israeli settlers and the Israeli military.
A spate of stabbings and ramped up Israeli activities in occupied territories has resulted in dozens of Palestinians being shot dead – some allegedly in extra-judicial-style “executions” – while 30 Israelis have also lost their lives since October.
There are currently at least 570,000 Israeli settlers living in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, which the Palestinians hope to make the capital of their future state.
The United Nations and most countries in the world view these settlements as illegal.