RAMALLAH, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- The United States has rejected Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' proposal for U.S.-mediated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, the Jerusalem-based daily Al-Quds reported Saturday.
After rejecting a U.S. offer to hold direct secret talks with Israel, Abbas suggested to hold indirect negotiations with Israel through the United States for 10 months, the same period for which Israel announced its partial and temporary suspension of settlements building in the West Bank, the report said.
However, the U.S. administration has rejected Abbas' proposal and U.S. diplomats are drafting a new initiative to put it forward at the beginning of next year, according to the report.
The core of the new initiative would be reaching a deal on the borders of a future Palestinian state. Such an agreement can end the issue of the settlements since any blocks located inside the Palestinian borders would be dismantled, the report added.
Abbas rejected the earlier U.S. offer to hold direct talks with Israel because the Israeli government, led by hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu, refuses to stop the settlement expansion completely or to resume the talks from the last point they stopped at during the era of former Israeli government, the newspaper said.
Israeli state prosecution defends settlement construction ban
JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Israel's state prosecution on Thursday defended the government-announced moratorium on new construction projects in West Bank settlements, saying that the move serves the country's diplomatic interests.
The decision is "meant to cement Israel's commitment to the peace process and its hope that it would reignite the direct negotiations with the Palestinians, local news service Ynet quoted an official with the State Prosecutor's Office as telling the Supreme Court. Full story
Israel to establish task force to monitor settlement moratorium enforcement
JERUSALEM, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday gave his nod to set up a special task force to monitor the enforcement of a recently announced partial freeze on settlement construction, local daily Ha'aretz reported.
The team, which includes Defense Minister Ehud Barak and several other senior government officials, is empowered to examine how the moratorium could be implemented in full with the greatest possible consideration for the needs of the settlers, added the report. Full story
Hamas lawmaker denies secret, direct dialogue with Israel
RAMALLAH, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- A West Bank-based Islamic Hamas lawmaker denied Monday the earlier reports that his movement has launched secret and direct dialogue with Israel.
Mahmoud al-Ramahi, a Hamas lawmaker from the West Bank, said in a press statement sent to reporters that these reports "are totally untrue," and "the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) is not seeking to open any secret dialogue with Israel." Full story
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