Top Palestinian officials have put off a decision on whether to resume US-brokered peace talks with Israel. Senior officials have said Israel must first meet their border terms before negotiations can begin.
A meeting of top Palestinian leaders called to discuss US Secretary of State John Kerry's latest peace proposal ended late Thursday with demands that Israel agree on the general border of a future Palestinian state.
The delay in proceedings means that Kerry's sixth peacemaking visit to the region since March will most likely end inconclusively Friday when he is scheduled to return home after meeting with both sides once more.
Wasel Abu Yussef, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) executive committee, said their top negotiator Saeb Erekat was sent to meet with Kerry "and inform him that Palestinians want guarantees regarding the general border."
The general border refers to returning to the pre-1967 borders and agreeing to a land swap in order to create two states, according to initial reports. Kerry proposed the idea earlier in the week during a visit with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Arab League in Jordan.
Abu Yussef said Erekat would also ask for more clarifications from Kerry on Israel's expectations for the negotiations, adding that Palestinians did not want to reject Kerry's efforts outright.
According to a statement released by the White House late Thursday, President Barack Obama asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to work with Kerry "to resume negotiations with Palestinians as soon as possible."
Netanyahu has rejected the Palestinian demands, saying talks should begin without preconditions.
Peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine came to a halt in 2010 over Israel's refusal to halt settlement development in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority has since gained non-member observer status from the United Nations, giving it more power in the international community to dispute Israeli territorial claims.
hc/av (Reuters, AFP)