Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said that peace in the Middle East could be achieved in just one week if Israelis were willing to negotiate. But in a surprise move, he expressed regret over the second intifada.
Speaking to Egyptian media, Mr Abbas said that both he and former Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat did not want the intifada in October 2000.
He said: “The second intifada was one of our worst mistakes. Arafat didn't want the intifada to erupt, but he couldn't stop it.”
During the past week Mr Abbas has made encouraging sounds about the proximity talks.
The BBC’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen has said that a report where he described the tension in US-Israeli relations as “enjoyable” was down to an editing glitch.
In his piece ‘Analysis: Bleak climate for Mid-East talks’ for the BBC News website, Mr Bowen wrote: “It has been an unusual and enjoyable new experience to be able to look on as the Israelis argued with their most important ally.”
William Hague is in no doubt about the most urgent issue to face him if he finds himself in the Foreign Office next month.
"It's the Iranian nuclear programme," he says. "We have consistently been the party arguing for tough sanctions and a strong European approach over the last few years, and are very frustrated that this hasn't emerged strongly enough."
Danny Ayalon, Israel's deputy foreign minister, has announced that new peace negotiations with Palestinian leaders could start within a fortnight.
Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is due to fly to Cairo on Monday to discuss the talks, the first since 2008, with Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.
He told his Likud party in Tuesday that he had heard that Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president “intends to renew the talks. I will be very glad if this will indeed be carried out next week,” he said.