EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Tuesday urged Israel Premier Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas to meet Quartet representatives "within days" in the hope of kick-starting stalled peace talks.
"I have asked both Netanyahu and Abbas to receive the Quartet envoys in the coming days, not weeks," Mogherini said, stressing the need for speed if an upsurge in violence between Israelis and Palestinians is not to spiral out of control.
The Quartet comprises the United States, the United Nations, the European Union and RussiMogherini warned the European parliament that there is a risk the Israeli-Palestinian dispute could get caught up in new conflicts in the region if the parties do not make an effort now to secure peace based on a two-state solution.
"This is a risky time for Israelis and Palestinians alike... it is not business as usual in managing the old conflict," she told the parliament in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.
"If anyone believes we can just contain this... they are wrong. Every cycle of violence is going to be worse (than the previous one)," she said.
Mogherini said it was essential to build confidence, to show the two sides by concrete actions on the ground that "they have a future in their lands".
Mogherini met Abbas in Brussels on Monday and Netanyahu last week in Berlin as part of efforts to revive the peace process.a and was set up in 2002 to promote what is known as the Middle East Peace Process.
French brokered summit
A French initiative to arrange a face to face meeting between the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an effort to quell the latest flare-up in violence received Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's stamp of approval – yet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is yet to respond, the Haaretz daily reported Tuesday.
Last week French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius reportedly tried to set up a summit in Paris between the two leaders via Israel's Minister of Interior Silvan Shalom, who guaranteed Netanyahu's willingness to participate. The Palestinian leader, however, failed to respond to the offer, senior Israeli officials told the paper.
The official cited in the report opined there are two possible explanations for the silence from Ramallah.
"Either the Palestinians are sticking to their refusal once again and are unwilling to hold a summit between Abbas and Netanyahu, or they don't want to hold such a meeting under France's auspices."
Abbas late Monday met with European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini to discuss "concrete steps" to calm the surge of violence between Israelis and Palestinians.
"We have a meeting tonight to discuss the ways EU can contribute to a de-escalation," Mogherini said in brief comments before a working dinner.
The EU's diplomatic chief said she hoped the pair would discuss "concrete steps on the ground, including difficult ones, that can strengthen the Palestinians on an everyday basis".
The European Commission is the biggest provider of financial aid to the Palestinians, providing more than $6.19 billion to Abbas' Palestinian Authority since 1994.
Mogherini, who met with Netanyahu in Berlin on Thursday, admitted there was "a certain degree of frustration" in Europe over the peace process, which collapsed in April 2014 amid bitter recriminations.
Abbas repeated his criticism of what he said was Israel's "non-respect" for the rules at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound, sacred to both Muslims and Jews, which is at the center of the recent wave of violence.
"The situation in Palestine is extremely serious and grave and may even deteriorate. This is my fear," he said.
"The main reason is the feeling of disappointment (among) the young generation," who feel there is "no hope," Abbas said.
Palestinians accuse Israel of seeking to change the rules that allow Jews to visit, but not to pray there. Israel denies it has violated the status quo.
Stabbings and violent protests have become daily occurrences since simmering tensions over the compound boiled over in early October, leaving scores dead.
Abbas urged a revival of peace negotiations, calling for Israel to halt settlement-building in the West Bank and prevent "incursions" on the al-Aqsa compound.
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