Netanyahu Proposes Biweekly Meetings with Abbas
Israeli PM to personally lead negotiating team.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has proposed meetings with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas every two weeks to improve the prospects of Middle East peace talks, said a diplomatic source.
According to Reuters, Netanyahu is set to head over to Washington next week to resume peace talks that have been delayed since 2008.
One of the most significant points of conflict is Israel’s building and settlement activity in land the Palestinians want as part of their future state.
Abbas has warned that talks will be cut short if Israel does not extend its freeze on settlement construction, which set to expire September 26.
According to Reuters, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States believed all major issues could be resolved within the year. But Netanyahu's own foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, expressed skepticism about reaching a deal in that time.
The United States opposes Israel’s settlement expansion but has stopped short of calling for Netanyahu to extend the freeze, a move that could cause a deeper rift in his governing alliance dominated by pro-development parties, including his own.
Instead, the U.S. has urged both Israel and the Palestinians not to take measures that could threaten the negotiations, and said the settlement issue would be raised in next week's talks.
Under Netanyahu's proposal, he and Abbas would meet once every two weeks to "try to reach quiet understandings on the key issues, and afterwards the two teams will discuss the details," according to a diplomatic source.