Israel reportedly working with U.S. on new peace framework

Israel reportedly working with U.S. on new peace framework

JERUSALEM — Israel has been working with the United States to develop a new framework to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians, according to reports.

News agencies cited an unnamed Israeli government official as saying Tuesday that there have been efforts over the past few weeks to formulate the new framework, which will hew closely to the call in May by President Obama for an agreement using the 1967 lines as a basis for negotiations, with land swaps.

The push for renewed talks is an attempt to persuade Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas from bringing the issue of Palestinian statehood recognition to a vote at the United Nations in September.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that his government had been working with the Obama administration and other members of the Mideast Quartet — the United States, United Nations, Russia and the European Union — on a working document for renewed peace talks and that the coordination with Washington was better than expected, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Also Monday, reports surfaced that President Shimon Peres canceled at the last minute a meeting with Abbas at which the Israeli president was scheduled to present a new proposal in order to advance the pace of negotiations.

Abbas already was on his way to Amman when Peres reportedly called off the meeting in the Jordanian capital because he did not have anything new to introduce.

Peres also reportedly met last week with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat.

Meanwhile, Palestinian officials in the West Bank on Monday approved a plan to hold mass protest marches against Israel beginning on Sept. 20, the night before the U.N. vote to recognize Palestinian statehood. The goal is to hold peaceful protests with millions of marchers. Israel believes the marches could turn violent.