Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
met with US special Mideast envoy George Mitchell in Jerusalem Tuesday. The meeting is part of a round of meetings being held by Mitchell and other top US administration officials in the region this week.
The Prime Minister's Office stated that the meeting was positive and that the two discussed various issues concerning the political process and not just the settlements issue.
Mitchell said in the meeting that progress has been made in talks and that the US hopes to reach understandings with Israel, forming a basis for continued negotiations with the Palestinians. Netanyahu and Mitchell are scheduled to meet again in August.
Settlers build hut in West Bank (Photo: AFP)
While the prime minister and Mitchell met, dozens of settlers, mostly youth, continued to man the 11 outposts founded Monday in response to the growing American pressure on Israel to halt construction in the West Bank.
Jerusalem officials estimated that a few more rounds of talks with the Americans are necessary before any agreement on settlements can be reached.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Monday, Mitchell told reporters Washington was doing "everything we can to achieve a comprehensive peace ... between Israelis and Palestinians, between Syria and the Israelis, between Israel and Lebanon and the normalization of relations between Israel and all of the countries in the region".
Meanwhile, London-based newspaper al-Hayat reported Tuesday that in his meeting with the Palestinian leadership Monday Mitchell proposed to set n 18-month timetable for negotiations with Israel, without completely halting construction in the West Bank.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report