A new initiative to bring the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiation table was proposed by Britain and France, an official in Ramallah told the Ma’an news agency on Thursday.
The news comes less than a month after the Palestinian Authority said it would use its upgraded UN nonmember observer state status to leverage talks.
Talks seem a dim possibility, however, with Israel ramping up plans to build in East Jerusalem and the settlements and the Palestinians threatening to turn to the International Criminal Court to have Jerusalem prosecuted over the proposed construction.
Nimir Hamad, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said France and Britain would seek to get Washington on board the proposal to restart talks.
Israel and the PA have not held direct high-level talks since 2010, at the tail end of a 10-month settlement-building freeze. Ramallah says it must see settlement construction stop before returning to the table while Israel has said it is ready for talks without preconditions.
Abbas’s conditions for negotiations had not changed, Hamad said.
Recent reports said Jordan was in the process of planing a new round of talks, to be hosted by the neighboring kingdom in February.
In the initiative there were “concrete terms of reference,” Hamad said without elaborating, and noted that there was no “specific time frame.”
Britain has been pressing Ramallah to resume talks with Israel for a while, Hamad told the Palestinian news outlet. Efforts by London to bring the two sides to the negotiation table started before the UN accepted the Palestinian Authority as a nonmember observer state, he added.
Hamad also reiterated the Palestinian threat to turn to the UN Security Council and then the ICC if Israel pushes through its plans to build new homes beyond the Green Line.