middle east quartet

Written by Najm ul Sahar Riaz 7:00 pm Articles, Current Affairs, International Relations, Published Content

The Middle East Quartet & Its Role

The Middle East Quartet was set up in 2002, primarily to help mediate the Middle East peace negotiations. It has also been supporting Palestinian economic development and institution-building in preparation for eventual statehood. The platform has an informal structure, but it provides fluidity to members to navigate crises.
About the Author(s)
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Ms Najm ul Sahar Riaz is currently studying International Relations at Kinnaird College for Women.

The Founding & Structure of the Quartet

The Middle East Quartet was formed around the time of the outbreak of the second Intifada which attracted the international community towards the security of the Palestinians and Israelis. To implement a call for a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Palestine, Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, met with the representatives of the UN, EU, the US, and Russia in Madrid.

Another agreement made was on the quadripartite cooperation for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Therefore, in 2002, the Quartet on the Middle East was established with the main purpose to facilitate the Israel-Palestine peace process.

The structure of the Quartet is kept informal, since boundaries or protocol will not allow members to come up with negotiations for peace. There has been a roadmap designed for the Quartet, along with some set principles of the Quartet. The Roadmap has also been published in order to articulate the purpose of the Quartet.

The Efforts of the Quartet

The main purpose of the Middle East Quartet was to promote the peace process between Israel and Palestine. In 2008, Tony Blair flew to the Middle East to meet with the Israelis to initiate a ceasefire. Blair designed a plan for peace based on the Valley Peace Plan.

Later, in 2009, Blair indicated that he would want the conflict to be resolved rather than be protracted by the hands of religious leaders. He even criticized Palestinians for regarding Israel as a “delegitimate state,” impacting the peace process as it meant that Blair had no regard for the Palestinians. The Gaza strikes in 2014 caused the Quartet to compel the international community to deal with the aggravating situation.

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The Quartet put a major emphasis on dialogues and legal crossings instead of action through arms and ammunition. The Cairo Conference was held in 2014 for the international partners of the Quartet to speed up the funding so that more conferences could be held. The Quartet vouches for the two-state solution. Unfortunately, the expansion in the West Bank and Jerusalem has caused problems in realizing the two-state solution.

The Failure of the Quartet 

The most notable point is that there have not been any developments regarding the peace process that the Quartet had promised. The Quartet has been regarded as a failure majorly for three reasons. Firstly, the Quartet is regarded to have an informal structure which has caused the structure to be full of loopholes. The loopholes have rendered members unable to meet regularly to come up with a formal solution.

Secondly, there is an imbalance of power within the Quartet. Certain members such as the US and the UK are regarded to have more say in the matter, unlike others. Moreover, the US has shown evident bias in the Israel-Palestine issue. The members do not act as independent actors, but rather as actors who are associated with the issue. This reflects the actors’ partiality which hinders the Israel-Palestine conflict to be resolved.

The third reason for the ineffectiveness of the Quartet is the lack of agreement among the members of the Quartet. In fact, the lack of cohesion between the members has caused conflict resolution to be delayed. All these reasons are conclusively intertwined which has caused the Quartet to be labeled as a failure. The Quartet can be successful, but only if the members find a proper ground to establish a consensus.

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