US Middle East envoy George Mitchell on Monday said President Barack Obama wants to see renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “immediately.”
Speaking to reporters following a meeting of donors to the Palestinian Authority in Oslo, Mitchell said Obama has now classified the creation of a Palestinian state as a matter of national security for the US, and so expects both sides to stop stalling and move forward right away.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is ready to renew direct negotiations with no preconditions, but can make no guarantees regarding the speed of progress given the Palestinians’ past failures to honor their commitments.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday reiterated his refusal to meet with Netanyahu until the latter explicitly agrees to surrender ancient Jewish lands for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.
Abbas claimed in remarks to reporters that his regime had met all its obligations, but that Israel was in violation of signed agreements by continuing to build Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria.