JERUSALEM (AP) — Two senior Palestinian officials say President Mahmoud Abbas has agreed to resume peace talks with Israel only after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gave him a letter guaranteeing that the basis of the negotiations will be Israel’s pre-1967 borders.
A Western official, however, has denied that the ’67 lines would be the basis of negotiations.
The Palestinian officials, both of whom are close to the Palestinian leader and privy to internal discussions, say the U.S. letter also stipulates that both sides are to refrain from taking any steps that would jeopardize the outcome of the talks. They say Israel is not to issue new tenders for Jewish settlements in the West Bank, while the Palestinians are not to pursue diplomatic action against Israel at any international organizations.
The officials are speaking on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to brief the media.
One of the Palestinian officials says, “The talks with Kerry were about to collapse, and the letter came as a lifeline in the last-minute bargaining.”
There’s been no comment from the State Department.