Whither the Quartet?

Yonatan Silverman is a professional Hebrew to English translator in Tel Aviv and author of "For The World To See: The Life Of Margaret Bourke-White."


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After Bush left the region, the Palestinians launched a series of terror attacks against Israelis. This threatened to derail the roadmap plan. On June 15 Israeli forces entered Gaza, killing a Palestinian. In the following few days, Israel continued its targeting of Hamas leaders with new helicopter attacks

Clearly, the Quartet’s Roadmap was a guide for Israeli funeral processions and not a productive diplomatic undertaking for peace by any means.

In November 2003, the United Nations Security Council endorsed the roadmap in Resolution 1515 which called for an end to all violence including “terrorism, provocation, incitement and destruction.” But the requirements of Phase I of the roadmap were not fulfilled, and the roadmap was discontinued. It is thus currently effectively in limbo.

In November 2004, Yasser Arafat died of AIDS at age 75 in a French hospital. Arafat’s powers were divided among his officials, with Mahmoud Abbas elected head of the Palestine Liberation Organization and Rawhi Fattuh sworn in as acting president of the Palestinian Authority.

In August 2005, the Israelis started their planned disengagement from the Gaza Strip, removing all of its settlements from this area and from a portion of the West Bank. This was widely endorsed around the world and the process, although unilateral on Israel’s part, was coordinated with the Palestinian Authority.

In early January 2006, Sharon suffered a major stroke and did not awaken from a deep coma. With Sharon in serious condition in hospital, his powers were transferred to his deputy, Finance Minister Ehud Olmert. On March 28, Knesset elections were held, and Olmert’s party, Kadima, won the most seats. On April 14, 2006 Sharon was declared permanently disabled, and Olmert was named interim Prime Minister, becoming Prime Minister on May 4.

It was Prime Mininster Olmert who oversaw the disastrous Israeli disengagement from the Gaza perimeter communities. This was a tremendous political and social tragedy on every plane. And the country is still licking its wounds from this six years later.

The Quartet for its part, however, reacted positively.

Kofi Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, commented on August 18, 2005 on what he called Israeli Prime Minister Sharon’s “courageous decision” to carry through with the painful process of disengagement. And what rewards did Israel receive following the bold disengagement from the Gaza perimeter communities? Over the next two years the Hamas Islamic terror gang which controls Gaza fired thousands of lethal rockets at Israel’s southern communities, particularly Sderot.

Israel began planning for a military operation as early as six months before the invasion of Gaza by collecting critical intelligence on potential targets.  Defense minister Ehud Barak stated that the offensive was the result of Israel’s “patience running out” over the rocket attacks. According to Israeli officials, its subsequent December 27 offensive took Hamas by surprise, thereby increasing terrorist casualties. This was the launch of Operation Cast Lead, which lasted a few weeks and did its job. Hamas halted its massive launching of lethal rockets into Israeli territory. Although they continue to launch rockets and mortars at Israel and IDF forces from time to time.

The Quartet issued no statement on Operation Cast Lead.

The United Nation’s reaction to Operation Cast Lead was the Goldstone Report, however.

The Quartet never issued a statement pro or con about the malicious deceitful Goldstone Report either.

What about Annapolis?

The Annapolis Conference was a Middle East peace conference held on November 27, 2007, at the United States Naval Academy in AnnapolisMaryland. The conference marked the first time a two-state solution was articulated as the mutually agreed-upon outline for addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The conference ended with the issuing of a joint statement from all parties.

Needless to say, no positive results whatsoever came out of the vaunted Annapolis Conference.

There is no record of a Quartet statement on Israel’s 2006 Second Lebanon War, but this is perhaps because it was a Lebanese not a Palestinian issue.

But the nonexistence of a Quartet statement on the Second Lebanon War is immaterial. It does not matter one bit what the Quartet says about issues concerning Israeli Palestinian peace or a so-called two state solution. The Quartet has proven since its establishment in 2002 and the launch of the so-called Roadmap for Peace a year later that it is a completely useless and ineffectual body.

And its idea of establishing a Palestinian state in the UN is comparable to a woman who believes she can give birth in one month following conception. This is not likely to happen in this or any universe. The only state the Palestinians will achieve through the auspices of the UN is a state of mind.

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  • Andream

    Usually I do not agree with the likening of settler on Palestinian violence to Palestinian on settler violence (or any moral parallel between terror activity and israeli response), but in this case, I think it should be strongly stated that Israel does not condone ANY vigilante violence by settlers – it is outside of the law, it is disrespectful of the law of the land and it should not be ignored or dismissed. If Israel does not want the Quartet and other groups commenting or condemning the actions of the settlers, then Israel must do so with conviction and action.