• Mideast Quartet gives Israel, Palestinians ‘wakeup call’

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    UNITED NATIONS, United States: A much-awaited report by the Middle East diplomatic quartet should serve as a “wakeup call” to Israel to halt the expansion of settlements and to the Palestinians to renounce violence, the UN envoy said on Thursday (Friday in Manila). Nickolay Mladenov said ongoing Israeli construction in the West Bank was one of three “negative trends” that must be quickly reversed to keep the hope of an Israeli-Palestinian peace dzeal alive. Violence and incitement, settlements and the Palestinian Authority’s lack of control over the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip “severely undermine hopes for peace,” Mladenov said. “These negative trends can and must be urgently reversed in order to advance the two-state solution on the ground,” he told the Security Council. The 10-page report prepared by the quartet—the United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations—is to be released on Friday after several delays.

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