Official: Israel to meet Quartet delegations that include EU reps

Israel will continue to hold discussions with the Quartet, which includes representatives from the European Union, even though it has suspended talks with the EU over the Palestinian issue, a government official said Tuesday.


A Quartet delegation, including senior officials from the US, Russia, EU and UN, was set to arrive last week to meet with officials in Jerusalem and Ramallah to discuss ways of de-escalating the situation and moving the diplomatic process forward but was postponed at the last minute.


The EU’s special envoy, Fernando Gentilini, was to be a member of that delegation, raising questions about whether Israel would meet with the group.


Following the EU’s decision last month to label products from the settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed the Foreign Ministry to suspend talks with the EU on matters pertaining to the Palestinian diplomatic track pending a reassessment of ties with EU institutions.


Bi-lateral discussions with individual EU countries have not been impacted, however.


One government official said Tuesday that Israel will meet with a Quartet delegation, if and when it arrives, because it does not want to “punish” the other members of the Quartet: the US, Russia and UN.


The better question, he said, was whether Israeli officials would meet separately with Gentilini. As things stand now, he said, such a meeting would probably not take place.


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