The UN Security Council and the Quartet – Russia, America, the United Nations and the European Union – have ended any expectations they had of successfully negotiating a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, after failing to categorically reject UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s highly offensive remarks before the Security Council and in the New York Times.
Ban told the Security Council on January 26:
“Palestinian frustration is growing under the weight of a half century of occupation and the paralysis of the peace process.
Some have taken me to task for pointing out this indisputable truth.
Yet, as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to occupation, which often serves as a potent incubator of hate and extremism.”Reacting to "occupation” can never justify the murder of Israeli civilians in their own homes, shopping in supermarkets, meeting in bars, or waiting at bus stops.
Such acts of murder are despicable and inhumane – and the Security Council and the Quartet should have said so clearly and unequivocally.
Following Israel’s trenchant criticism of these statements a clearly piqued Ban ran off to the New York Times on 31 January claiming he had been misrepresented:
“Some sought to shoot the messenger — twisting my words into a misguided justification for violence. The stabbings, vehicle rammings and other attacks by Palestinians targeting Israeli civilians are reprehensible. So, too, are the incitement of violence and the glorification of killers.”Ban had dug himself an even deeper hole.
Failing again to call such stabbings, vehicle rammings and other targeted attacks on Israeli civilians as “murder” was reprehensible.
The Security Council and the Quartet should have made it absolutely clear that until such murderous acts ceased - the Quartet’s further participation in assisting and facilitating the implementation of the two-state solution envisaged by the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap would be indefinitely suspended. That role had been specifically assigned to the Quartet in 2003 when the Bush Roadmap was released:
“A two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only be achieved through an end to violence and terrorism when the Palestinian people have a leadership acting decisively against terror and willing and able to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty, and through Israel’s readiness to do what is necessary for a democratic Palestinian state to be established…
The Quartet will assist and facilitate implementation of the plan … including direct discussions between the parties as required.”In July 2015 the Quartet’s role was deliberately changed when:
1. The Quartet’s representative Tony Blair stood down with no replacement whilst his office – the Office of the Quartet Representative (OQR) - was renamed the Office of the Quartet (OQ).
2. The OQ’s stated mandate was:
“to support the Palestinian people on economic development, rule of law and improved movement and access for goods and people, as they build the institutions and economy of a viable and peaceful state in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”
An independent non-partisan Quartet had overnight been transformed into a biased and hostile Quartet, ignoring Israel’s territorial claims and security needs whilst solely supporting the “Palestinian people”.
No longer were the “democratic Palestinian state” or “practising democracy” mentioned in the Roadmap considered non-negotiable end objectives.
Changing the name had certainly changed the game – with the murder of Israeli civilians and the glorification of their killers beginning soon thereafter.
Whilst the Security Council and Quartet take no decisive action to effectively end these ongoing murders, the two-state solution – and the Quartet’s role - will be doomed to political oblivion.