Israel, Palestinians at separate negotiating tables

Saeb Erekat

Saeb Erekat

Representatives of the Quartet have begun efforts to resume the Middle East peace process.

Negotiators met officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority today in Jerusalem.

In a sign of the ongoing stalemate situation, the meetings were conducted separately. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said he would not meet his Israeli counterpart unless the Israeli government accepted 1967 borders and agreed to a settlement construction freeze.

"Anything short of that will simply put us back on the failed track that we have been on for the last 20 years," he said.

But Israel said it welcomed the call to return to the negotiating table and called on the Palestinians to do the same. "We hope today's talks in Jerusalem will facilitate an early resumption of direct talks," said Mark Regev, spokesman for the Israeli government.

"It's high time the Palestinians stop boycotting the peace talks and return to the negotiating table. How do they expect to solve problems unless they're willing to talk?"

    Last updated: 5:15pm, October 26 2011