Quartet Presses for Renewal of Peace Talks, Gaza Reconstruction

MUNICH (Reuters/Hamodia) -

The “Quartet” of Middle East peace mediators urged a prompt resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians after a meeting in Munich on Sunday and voiced concern about the slow pace of reconstruction in Gaza, devastated in last year’s war.

“The Quartet underlined the importance of the parties resuming negotiations as soon as possible,” the group comprising the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia said in a joint statement after their meeting in Germany.

Secretary of State John Kerry, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov and deputy U.N. head Jan Eliasson reiterated that talks must respect Palestinian aspirations for statehood and Israel’s security concerns.

“The Quartet is deeply concerned over the difficult situation in Gaza where the pace of reconstruction needs to be accelerated to address the basic needs of the Palestinian population and to ensure stability,” said the diplomats.

They urged donors to disburse the more than $5 billion in aid for the Palestinians pledged last October in Cairo to repair damage from the war in the coastal territory.

Meanwhile, the EU has been acting illegally by funding unauthorized Palestinian building in areas placed under Israeli control by international law, say an NGO, international lawyers and MEPs, the Daily Mail reported.

More than 400 EU-funded Palestinian homes have been erected in Area C of Yehuda and Shomron, which was placed under Israeli jurisdiction during the Oslo Accords — to which the EU is a signatory.

The Palestinian buildings cost tens of millions of Euros in public money, a portion of which comes from the British taxpayer.

Official EU documentation reveals that the building project is intended to ‘pave the way for development and more authority of the PA over Area C (the Israeli area),’ which some experts say is an attempt to unilaterally affect facts on the ground.

The developments fly the EU flag, and display hundreds of EU stickers and signs. Some also bear the logos of Oxfam and other NGOs, which have assisted in the projects.