Russia looks to insert itself into annexation issue, arrange meeting between Gantz, Jordan’s Abdullah

Quartet partners UN, EU and Russia may meet for first time in two years over annexation issue. Russia proposes meeting between Gantz and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Russia is brokering a proposed meeting between Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Jordan’s King Abdullah, Arab media reported on Tuesday.

With tensions mounting between Jordan and Israel over the proposed annexation of Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, Russia wants to host a meeting between Jordan’s King Abdullah and Israeli Defense and Foreign Ministers Benny Gantz and Gabi Ashkenazi.

Gantz and Ashkenazi have reportedly expressed concerns about Jordan’s reaction to annexation. However, there’s little they can do to stop Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sovereignty plan according to the unity government deal they agreed to.

Arab language reports were based a report on the Al Monitor website that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres considered a “meeting of the Quartet at the ministerial level to discuss the repercussions of a possible unilateral Israeli decision to annex large swaths of Palestinian lands.”

The Quartet was originally the foursome comprising the UN, EU, United States and Russia that was established in 2002 to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The group last met in 2018 and has been mostly inactive since, especially since the Palestinians cut off contact with it in 2016 after a Quartet report slammed the Palestinians for inciting violence against Israel.

Read  Hinting at Knesset bid, Pollard says Israel must expel Gazans, annex Gaza

Both Gantz and Ashkenazi served as IDF chief-of-staff and would likely have had some contact with Abdullah, himself a brigadier general in Jordan’s armed forces with combat experience.  The meeting would be held to let Abdullah tell the Israelis about “the colossal repercussions that any unilateral annexation will have on the chances of peace in the region,” Al Monitor reported.

Quartet members are clearly looking to play a bigger role in the Arab-Palestinian conflict.

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it would be beneficial to have a meeting of the so-called Mideast Quartet take place “as soon as possible,” the Associated Press reported last week.

The U.S. has not ruled out the possibility of participating. Kelly Craft, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, reiterated at a a press briefing on June 5 that the Trump peace plan is “not set in stone” and said the administration has been working to bring Israel and the Palestinians to the negotiating table to discuss it.

“So I’m really stressing, and really pushing, whether it be through a Quartet” or engagement with Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors at the UN that “we have — you have — to get to the table,” she said.

It is unclear how the Palestinians would react to Quartet involvement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin have had a close relationship, meeting multiple times in recent years to coordinate policy on both Syria and Iran.

But Moscow has historically backed the Palestinians, especially during the Soviet era when they supported the Palestine Liberation Organization and its campaign of terror against Israel.

The Palestinians never embraced the Quartet’s three conditions for the resumption of peace talks: Palestinian renunciation of violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist and a commitment to all agreements signed by the PLO and Israel.