US to unveil new Mideast talks plan
The US reportedly plans to announce details of direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians in a bid to put an end to the ongoing conflict.
According to the BBC, the US State Department is to issue a statement that will serve as a basis for negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, including a timetable and other significant details.
The US government and other international Quartet members have been trying to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas to begin negotiations, after several months of indirect talks.
US special envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, has been trying to narrow the gap between the two sides. However, there have been serious disagreements preventing any successful result.
The PA has repeatedly said it would only join talks of any kind after Tel Aviv ends its expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank and accepted a full withdrawal to the borders of 1967, when it occupied the territory.
The Palestinians have also called for the resumption of negotiations from the point they were left off at the end of 2008.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has, however, rejected any preconditions and urged Abbas to come to the negotiating table “right now.”