Middle East

Middle East Quartet 'deeply concerned' over Israeli settlements, West Bank violence

Envoys of UN, US, EU, Russia warn against 'unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions, undermine prospects for peace'

Peter Kenny   | 19.11.2021
Middle East Quartet 'deeply concerned' over Israeli settlements, West Bank violence

GENEVA 

The Middle East Quartet has said it is “deeply concerned” over Israel’s growing settlements in Palestinian territories and ongoing violence in the occupied West Bank.

Envoys of the group, which comprises the UN, US, EU and Russia, issued a joint statement on Thursday after a meeting in Norway’s capital Oslo earlier this week.

“The Envoys remain deeply concerned by developments in the West Bank, Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, including ongoing acts of violence in the West Bank, the advancement of new settlement units, the untenable fiscal crisis within the Palestinian Authority and threats of violence from the Gaza Strip,” read the statement.

They underlined the “urgent need for all parties to take additional steps to address these challenges directly through fiscal and other reforms, as well as to avoid unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undermine the prospects for peace.”

Stressing the importance of “constructive steps to advance a two-state solution,” the envoys agreed to continue dialogue with all parties and regional actors to resolve the conflict.

“The Envoys noted the pressing need to address the fragile situation in Gaza – with the support of all relevant stakeholders, including in the region – by ensuring continued humanitarian efforts and an easing of access and movement restrictions for people and goods,” the statement said.

They welcomed Israel’s announcement that it will assist the Palestinian Authority (PA) as it battles a crippling financial crisis.

The PA said in June that it did not have enough funds to pay the salaries of around 133,000 government employees.

The revenue crunch was attributed to the PA’s refusal to take tax money from Israel for May, after it decided to terminate deals with Tel Aviv over its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.​​​​​​​

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