Representatives of the Mideast Quartet cancelled a trip to Yerushalayim and Ramallah this week, at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Haaretz said on Monday.
A senior Israeli official and a Western diplomat from one of the Quartet’s members explained that it was a matter of timing.
“The Israelis told us that this isn’t a good time to talk about diplomatic issues,” the diplomat said.
The Western diplomat, who asked not to be named, said that on Sunday evening, Netanyahu spoke with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who is leading the Quartet’s initiative.
However, Mogherini made separate phone calls to Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday evening to urge calm.
“Too many people have died already and too many families were left bereaved,” she stated.
“The immediate priority is for the parties to agree on substantial steps which would improve the situation on the ground and build a path back to final status negotiations. A negotiated two-state solution is the only way to bring the lasting peace and security that both Israelis and Palestinians deserve,” she said.
According to Mogherini, Abbas told her that he is determined to keep the situation under control. Netanyahu assured her that he was committed to maintaining the status quo.
In another diplomatic development, Indian President Pranab Mukherjee reaffirmed his country’s pro-Palestinian policy on the eve of an historic trip to Israel.
“India’s traditional support to the Palestinian cause remains steadfast and unwavering while we pursue strong relations with Israel,” he said.
Quoting a speech by leader of India’s independence movement Mahatma Gandhi, Mukherjee said, “Palestine belongs to the Arabs in the same sense that England belongs to the English and France to the French.”
The quote comes from a speech given by Ghandi in 1938 opposing Zionism, in which he declared it “a crime against humanity to reduce the proud Arabs so that Palestine can be restored to the Jews partly or wholly as their national home.”
Mukherjee is scheduled to meet Abbas on Monday before traveling to Israel on Tuesday, in the highest-ever level visit by an Indian official to Israel.