Diplomats Convinced Quartet Not to Call Settlements 'Illegal'
Israel may have reacted with fury to last week’s Quartet report, which criticized their construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank, but the reality is that the report marked another major diplomatic success for Israel in avoiding any serious repercussions for actions that are decidedly in violation of international law.
Officials from multiple quartet nations say that the final report was heavily influenced by Israeli diplomats, who convinced the nations involved to dramatically soften the language of the draft in a way that would “equalize” the blame between Israel and the occupied Palestinians.
The initial report planned to come down very hard on Israel for the continued expansion of the settlements, but as EU officials noted, there was “no appetite to go toe-to-toe with Israel,” and that it was decided to just drop the matter, removing all mentions of the illegality of the settlements in the final language.
The language that noted a number of active Israeli government ministers are openly opposed to Palestinian statehood, despite stating the rather obvious, seems to have been the most the Quartet could muster. While knuckling under to Israel may well have avoided an argument in the near-term, it is likely to add to the efforts by nations like France to get an alternate track toward peace going, since clearly the Quartet isn’t going to grumble too loudly about the status quo.
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