The Russian representative at the recent Middle East Quartet meeting objected to calling Israel a "Jewish state"; a demand the Israeli side insists on for the resumption of the negotiations and the recognition of any future Palestinian state.
According to the online version of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, rejected the inclusion of Israel as a "Jewish state" in the concluding statement of the Quartet meeting.
The newspaper added that the meeting, which lasted for more than two hours, failed to achieve its objectives because of the disagreement sparked by the Russian foreign minister, and as such no public statement on the meeting was issued. Instead, a verbal call was made to both sides to resume negotiations without conditions.
Haaretz also ran another report in which it quoted Western sources as saying that Israel's Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, told the US that he was willing to accept the results of the Quartet's meeting on condition that the meeting made a recommendation to the Palestinian side to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
The Quartet, which comprises Russia, the United States, the United Nations, and the European Union, held its foreign ministerial-level meeting in Washington on Monday to discuss ways to renew the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. As a US State Department official announced, the meeting was a failure and that "gaps" between the sides were still wide and "impeding progress".