The United States has devised a plan to restart stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with the aim of reaching a final settlement by early next year, Israel TV said Thursday.
The report came amid a flurry of diplomatic contacts seeking to end the four-month crisis between Israel and the Palestinians.
The Palestinians broke off contact after Israel began building a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem, which is claimed by the Palestinians as their future capital. Nine Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops during protests over the settlements.
Netanyahu adviser David Bar-Illan said he could not confirm the Israel TV report, and there was no immediate comment out of Washington.
According to Israel TV, U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross will return to the region in August with proposals to begin talks the following month on a final peace settlement, in hopes of completing them within six months.
The final settlement is to address the Palestinians’ aspirations for full statehood as well as thorny issues such as the future of Jerusalem, Jewish settlers and Palestinian refugees.
To address the Palestinians’ fears, the United States is proposing that the talks begin concurrent with another Israeli pullout from at least 12 percent of the West Bank, the TV report said.
Meanwhile, officials confirmed that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat met Wednesday with Israel’s secret service chief, and the European Union said it’s seeking to arrange a meeting between Arafat and Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy.
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