Jeremy Ben-Ami responds to breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian talks – UPDATED

January 26, 2012

WASHINGTON — J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami issued the following statement in response to the apparent failure of the latest round of Jordanian sponsored talks between Israel and the PLO:

“J Street is gravely concerned by the apparent failure of the latest round of Jordanian-sponsored talks between Israel and the PLO.

While no one had high expectations for these talks, no one should take satisfaction in seeing predicted failure come to pass. The interests at stake – for Israel, the Palestinians, Jordan, the US and the Quartet—are too serious and the consequences of failure too dire.

The status quo between Israel and the Palestinians is unsustainable, with the lack of a two-state solution leaving only one state between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. While the failure of talks may satisfy extremists on both sides, the security of Israel, as well as its Jewish and democratic character, hang in the balance and should be of great concern to all who care about Israel’s future.

There is more than enough regret to go around in light of this latest failure. We regret that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appears ready to end these talks without showing flexibility regarding the deadline for Israeli proposals. We regret that the Government of Israel has not provided the substantive proposal on borders and security requested by the Quartet. Above all, we regret that the Quartet and the US did not exert more forceful leadership in laying out a clear timeline for the process and in holding the parties accountable for meeting their obligations.

We urge the parties to work with relevant international mediators, including European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, to salvage these talks. “

UPDATE, January 27, 2012: Following the release of this statement yesterday, news broke that the Israelis had “verbally outlined their positions” on borders in a meeting on and Wednesday.

We reiterate our call for the United States and the Quartet to provide the strong leadership necessary to achieve a diplomatic two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including setting clear expectations for both parties and holding both parties accountable for meeting them.