The head of the left-wing Meretz party, Zahava Gal-On, said Monday that the Obama administration is determined to achieve a major diplomatic breakthrough next year in the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, including arrangements for a final status agreement.
"There will be a new diplomatic program, based on the pre-1967 lines with agreed land swaps," Gal-On said in a statement after meeting with Palestinian and American officials on Monday morning.
The statement said that the US has made a subtle but significant switch from a "third-party trying to bring the two sides together, to a role of direct involvement in the process."
Gal-On attributed the American's preparedness for increased involvement to the general feeling of skepticism among the public on both sides regarding the talks.
US Secretary of State John Kerry is touring the Middle East this week. He is set to arrive in Israel from Egypt on Tuesday evening, and is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the latest developments surrounding the peace talks.
Although the peace process was reignited this summer, due in large part to a whirlwind series of meetings between Kerry and the two sides, the talks have met with significant resistance from the respective public opinion of both parties.
A rash of terrorists attacks in recent months, two waves of volatile Palestinian prisoner releases and the continued settlement building in the West Bank, have only added to the instability of the talks and have seemingly set the stage for failure.
Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh reiterated on Sunday the Palestinian Authority's repeated insistence that a capital in Jerusalem is a must in any future establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state.
The statement was made in response to Israel's latest announcement of plans to build new housing units in West Bank settlements and east Jerusalem neighborhoods.
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