A meeting here on Wednesday between U.S. President Barack Obama’s special envoy George Mitchell and visiting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was reported to have paved the way for resuming the stalled peace process in West Asia.
The meeting, which took place a day after Mr. Netanyahu’s talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was said to have been aimed at preparing the ground for Mr. Obama to announce a Palestinian-Israel peace deal next month either during the annual U.N. General Assembly session in New York, or at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh.
Media reports, quoting official sources, claimed that the “key” elements of such a deal would involve a tougher U.S.-European line against Iran in exchange for a pledge by Israel to order a “partial freeze” on building further settlements on the occupied land.
“As well as a tougher U.S. approach to Iran, which the Israelis see as their top priority, the deal would see Israel offering a temporary and partial moratorium on the expansion of settlements on the West Bank in return for moves by Arab states towards normalisation of relations. This would allow Obama to announce talks on the bigger Israeli-Palestinian issues – borders, the future of Jerusalem and the future of Palestinian refugees – with the US sitting in as a mediator,” said The Guardian website.
The proposed deal, it was reported, would lay down a two-year timetable for peace talks to be completed for a final settlement of the Palestinian issue.