Israel accepts Quartet’s peace process proposal

Israel has accepted the Mideast Quartet’s proposal to renew peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

The plan accepted Sunday by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his eight senior Cabinet members would restart negotiations within a month, without preconditions.

“Israel welcomes the Quartet’s call for direct negotiations between the parties without preconditions, as called for by both President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu,” read a statement issued Sunday by the Prime Minister’s Office.

“While Israel has some concerns, it will raise them at the appropriate time.  Israel calls on the Palestinian Authority to do the same and to enter into direct negotiations without delay,” the short statement concluded.

The concerns included the short timetable for negotiations on border and security issues, and the issues of Palestinian refugees and recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, Haaretz reported.

The inner Cabinet met last week for five hours and failed to agree to support the plan at that time. 

The Quartet, saying it aimed for a peace agreement by the end of 2012, has urged both sides to refrain from “provocative actions.”

At the United Nations on Friday, a Security Council panel on admitting new members to the U.N. met for the first time on the Palestinian membership bid.

It was the beginning of an assessment process that will pit the aid-dependent Palestinians against the United States, which has said it would veto the bid in the Security Council if necessary, and Israel.

Some diplomats have suggested the issue could stay with the membership committee for weeks or months before it is passed back to the Security Council for a vote, giving mediators more time to try to restart peace talks.