The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized the statement issued this week by the Middle East Quartet (the U.S., the European Union, Russia and the United Nations) which failed to condemn actual, on-going recent violations by the Palestinian Authority (PA) of its signed obligations under the Oslo agreements to end terrorism and the incitement to hatred and murder that feeds it, but which instead declared the Quartet to be greatly concerned by Israels recent announcements to advance planning for new housing units in Ariel and East Jerusalem. (Middle East Quartet Statement, August 16, 2011). In view of the Quartets long-standing bias against Israel, as evidenced in its 2003 Roadmap peace plan, which virtually discarded the Oslo requirement of Palestinian compliance and which aims to create a Palestinian state led by an unreformed, extremist, terror-supporting PA, the ZOA has called for its disbanding. (The ZOA was the first organization to do this when its Director of Middle East Policy, Daniel Mandel, wrote an article in January calling for this step).
Following the Quartets latest statement, former Deputy National Security Advisor, Elliott Abrams, called for the disbanding of the Quartet saying, The last time the Middle East Quartet met, on July 11, it was unable even to issue a statement about the key issue before itthe Palestinian effort to get the UN General Assembly and Security Council to declare Palestine a state and admit it to membership. Nor has the Quartet been able to issue a statement about the attacks the Assad regime has been carrying out this week against Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, which have led thousands of Palestinians to flee their homes. But it did on August 16 get itself organized to address what it apparently saw as a graver issue and a greater threat to peace, Israels announcement of plans to construct additional housing units in Jerusalem and Ariel.
Nowadays the Quartet seems able to reach agreement on only one thing: criticism of Israel. This is the lowest common denominator among the United States, EU, United Nations, and Russia, and it is pretty low indeed. If this is the only function of the Quartet, the better path would be to disband it nowfor the statements it is making and the statements it seems unable to make combine to bring discredit on all participants (Elliott Abrams, Quartet Statements and Quartet Silences, Council on Foreign Relations, August 16, 2011).
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA has watched for years, hoping an elementary sense of responsibility and decency would lead the Quartet to hold the Palestinians to their never-fulfilled obligations to arrest terrorists, outlaw terrorist groups and end the incitement to hatred and murder in the PA-controlled media, mosques, schools and youth camps that feed terrorism. Instead, as in its latest statement, it fixates on Jews seeking to build homes in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem and finds this a threat to peace.
The Quartet subverted President George W. Bushs June 2002 vision of a new Palestinian leadership, untainted by terrorism and corruption, replacing the old PA leadership and creating a new, transparent, democratic and civil Palestinian society. The Bush plan had its own faults, but it at least recognized what needed to be done on the Palestinian side. In contrast, the 2003 Roadmap peace plan called for swift Israeli concessions ahead of any Palestinian reforms. This was a formula for releasing the PA from all need for compliance on terrorism and incitement and indeed there has been no progress since that date.
In recent days, PA-controlled TV has approvingly interviewed a Palestinian mother proud of the fact that her son became a terrorist bomb-maker who wanted to marry the seventy virgins promised for a Muslim martyr in paradise. It also broadcast a program stating that the Western Wall plaza, dedicated to Jewish prayer at the Western Wall, will one day be replaced by a new Arab neighborhood. Also, the official PA daily newspaper has again denied Jewish history by referring to the Jerusalem Temple as an alleged Temple.
It is clear that a PA that can do these things is not a peace partner but one will look in vain for a word of criticism or censure from the Quartet. The Quartet has been, and remains, a failure and disgrace. It should be disbanded.