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  • Wednesday, April 8, 2009
  • اللجنة الرباعية بين الاحتواء الأمريكي والضمور الأوروبي – قراءة مستقبلية في دورها
  • Published at:ورقة عمل مقدمة للمركز الفلسطيني للديمقراطية والدراسات في مؤتمره السنوي الثالث
  • The paper examined the actual role of the Quartet in the Middle-East peace process in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Quartet has been involved in the peace process since April 2003, when it officially launched the American initiative of the Roadmap to a Permanent Two-State Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. It was clear that the initiative, as a performance-based and goal-driven roadmap with reciprocal steps by the two parties in various fields under the auspices of the Quartet, has actually limited the role of the Quartet to one of tactical rather than of political one. The Quartet, besides giving formal international recognition to the American diplomatic initiative,  is responsible for monitoring the performance of the Israelis and the Palestinians in fulfilling their obligations, and in evaluating progress in this direction, which accordingly can call for an international conference to move to the next phase of the roadmap, and so forth. The American Administration has managed to contain the role of the Quartet to giving legitimacy to a peace process outside the auspices of the United Nations, and to preserve for itself the right to supervised the bi-lateral and direct peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians without the involvement of any other powers such as the European Union, Russia, and the United Nations This was also clear in the American-led Minneapolis Peace process, with aim of lunching the peace talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians under the sole auspices of the US, while the Quartet can encourage progress in the peace negotiations by helping the two sides in taking confidence building measures in the security and economic fields. The US was also influential in choosing the Quartet special envoy to the Middle East, first, it was James Wolfenson, former head of the WB,  and later Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of UK.                                              

    As to the second topic, the paper emphasized the fact that the EU is strongly committed to a peaceful solution to the Middle East conflict, and it is deeply involved in the peace process. It is represented by three senior officials in the Quartet, in addition to its Middle East Special Envoy, and its association’s agreements within the Euro-Mediterranean good neighbor policy. However, the EU is unable to play an active role in the peace process. Its position has always been complementary, not competitive to US Middle East policy.                                                                            

    In regard to future perspective of Quartet role, it will be limited to one that will deal with the humanitarian aspect of the situation in Gaza, and the related border crossings issues, this will remain until the new US Administration formulae its middle- east strategy someday in the future.

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Nayef Samour Abu-Khalaf
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