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Abbas Urges UN Security Council to Reject Quartet Report

RAMALLAH (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES) (AFP) –  Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas called on the UN Security Council on Wednesday to reject a key report by the diplomatic Quartet that condemned both Israeli settlement building and Palestinian incitement to violence.

The report published last Friday by the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States was criticised by both Israel and the Palestinians as being unfair.

The report is due to be presented for discussion at the UN Security Council in the coming weeks, though a date has not yet been set.

Abbas said in a statement on Wednesday the report “does not further the cause for peace.”

“We hope that the Security Council does not support this report,” he added.

Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat has condemned what he called 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 Benjamin 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 that ongoing violence and the construction of Jewish settlements on land earmarked to be part of a future Palestinian state are killing off prospects for a deal.

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 has said settlements are illegal.

In the recent wave of violence since October, there have been more than 250 attacks and attempted attacks by Palestinians that have killed at least 30 Israelis, the report said.

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