Mideast Quartet, Israeli officials hold ‘serious’ meeting

Mideast Quartet, Israeli officials hold ‘serious’ meeting

EU representative attends Jerusalem confab, despite assertions by PM that 28-nation bloc would no longer play role in peace process

Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem, June 1, 2015. (AFP/Thomas Coex)
Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold in Jerusalem, June 1, 2015. (AFP/Thomas Coex)

Israeli officials met Wednesday night at the Prime Minister’s Office with representatives from the Middle East Quartet, in what the Foreign Ministry described as a “long, substantive and serious” meeting.

Despite the Israeli announcement last month that the European Union would no longer play a role in the peace process after labeling settlement products, an EU representative was present at the meeting.

“There was a long, substantive and serious debate about the ways to stop the violence, restore security and end the incitement, as well as discussion on the future of the diplomatic process,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry said. “Both sides recognized that the political process is the true guarantee to achieve security and peace.”

The statement also praised the Quartet as “responsible” and urged further dialogue with the body.

Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s attorney Yitzhak Molcho were present at the meeting. Molcho was a main player in peace talks with the Palestinian Authority that fizzled out in 2014.

In late November, Netanyahu announced that Jerusalem would suspend all ties with the EU vis-a-vis the diplomatic process.

Netanyahu’s suspension was a response to an EU directive to all its member states to begin labeling Israeli goods manufactured in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights as originating in settlements. Israeli officials have slammed the move as amounting to a boycott.

Despite Israel’s announcement that it was freezing dialogue on the peace process, the European body’s spokesperson noted that “EU-Israel relations are good, broad and deep, and this will continue.”

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