Quartet to convene in DC on Monday

The “Quartet” of entities guiding the Israeli-Arab peace processes is meeting next week amid signs that the Obama administration is pressing the Israelis and Palestinians back to peace talks.

Representatives of the “Quartet,” comprising the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, will convene in Washington on Monday.

Top U.S. peace brokers have in recent weeks made frequent visits to the region, reciprocated by visits to Washington by top Israeli and Palestinian negotiators.

The Obama administration wants to head off a Palestinian effort to secure U.N. recognition of statehood absent a renewal of peace talks with Israel.

Palestinian negotiators refuse to return to talks unless Israel freezes settlement; Israel will not consider talks with the Palestinians unless the P.A. breaks off its talks with Hamas, and unless the framework of the talks includes recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, an end to refugee claims and a longterm Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.