American mediation alone will not bring peace between Israelis and Palestinians, a senior Palestinian official said Sunday in a meeting in Ramallah with Likud and Shas party members.
"I do not believe we can reach an agreement through US mediation alone. I
believe that peace by means of a two-state solution is possible," said
Nabil Shaath, a member of the Palestinian negotiating team.
"We [the Palestinians] haven't lost our hope to reach an agreement," Shaath added.
Dozen of Palestinian leaders met with Likud and Shas members in Ramallah at an event organized by the Geneva Initiative to discuss the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and possible resolutions the stalemated negotiations.
Delegation members from both sides expressed their optimism for resolving the conflict, though they attested to the difficulties posed by it. Peace talks broke down in 2010 over Palestinian objections to Israel
expanding settlements on occupied land the Palestinians want for a
Shaath added that US Secretary of State John Kerry left from his last visit to the region with the feeling that there was more to do to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.
Secretary of the PLO Executive Committee Yasser Abed Rabbo commented that following the Kerry meeting, Palestinian officials are "considering our options."
"Peace has become synonymous with the expectations that it will come true," said Shas senior advisor David Glass, "but any agreement must support both nations," he added.
Kerry was expected to return this weekend for his sixth visit to the region to continue his long-winded efforts to renew peace negotiations, Israeli media reported on Sunday.
During his last trip, Kerry spent some 20 hours in six meetings – three with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem and three with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman and Ramallah – trying to find a formula that would launch talks.
Last Saturday night, he held a marathon six-hour meeting with Netanyahu and his team that went until nearly 4 a.m., followed by a Sunday morning meeting with Abbas.
Kerry refused to provide any details either about where progress was made, or what was holding up the restart of talks. He did not speak of any deadline by which the talks needed to begin.
Herb Keinon and Reuters contributed to this report.
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