Middle East Quartet, in first Trump-era statement, expresses concerns about Gaza
The first meeting of the coordinating body that oversees Middle East peace since President Donald Trump took office focused on the crisis in the Gaza Strip.
“On July 13, the envoys of the Middle East Quartet met in Jerusalem to discuss current efforts to advance Middle East peace, as well as the deteriorating situation in Gaza,” said the statement put out by the body that represents the United States, Russia, the United Nations and the European Union.
“The envoys expressed serious concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza and discussed efforts to resolve the crisis,” it said.
The West Bank Palestinian Authority has recently sharply reduced electricity to Gaza with Israel’s cooperation. The electricity cuts are part of a power play by the Palestinian Authority against Hamas, its rival Palestinian faction that governs the territory. The dispute has left the Gaza Strip’s nearly 2 million Palestinian residents dangerously vulnerable to a heat wave.
Notably, the statement was shared in a tweet by Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s lead Middle East peace negotiator. “Important #Quartet mtg today on how to best facilitate peace btw Israelis and Palestinians and improve dire situation in Gaza,” Greenblatt said.
— Jason D. Greenblatt (@jdgreenblatt45) July 13, 2017
Greenblatt’s endorsement of the meeting and its concerns about Gaza – and the fact that the meeting took place at all – showed once again that Trump is hewing to diplomatic norms when it comes to Israel, and maintaining international alliances that he has diminished in other spheres.