Jerusalem - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators were to
meet again on Monday in a fresh effort to salvage the teetering, US-brokered
peace process, US and Palestinian officials said.
"Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met last night
to discuss ways to overcome the crisis in the talks," a US official said.
"The meeting was serious and constructive, and both
sides requested that the United States convene another meeting today [Monday] to
continue the effort."
A Palestinian official confirmed to AFP that a meeting
was scheduled for later Monday, but neither side gave a time or location.
Accompanied by US envoy Martin Indyk, the two sides met
on Sunday evening, but Palestinian sources told AFP that the session ended
without any breakthrough and an Israeli official was quoted by local media as
saying the process was on the edge of collapse.
Israel's parliament was also meeting in special session
on Monday during its spring recess, for a debate on the peace negotiations
called by opposition MPs critical of the government's handling of the talks.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday threatened to
retaliate if the Palestinians proceed with applications to sign up to 15
"These will only make a peace agreement more
distant," he said of the applications the Palestinians made on Tuesday.
"Any unilateral moves they take will be answered by
unilateral moves at our end."
Push for peace
US Secretary of State John Kerry, the driving force
behind the peace push, warned on Friday that there were "limits" to
the time and energy Washington could devote to the talks process, as his
appeals to both sides to step back from the brink fell on deaf ears.
Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas rejected Kerry's plea
to withdraw the treaty applications, and Netanyahu ignored US appeals to
refrain from tit-for-tat moves, asking for a range of retaliatory options.
But commentator Tal Harris wrote in the Jerusalem Post on
Monday that the peace process was still alive.
"Although it might smell funny, it isn't dead
yet," said Harris, of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue movement One Voice,
saying there should be teams of experts set up to work on issues such as
disputes on water and energy, rather than focusing only on deadlocked political
"Kerry must reveal some of the progress that was
made so far, and Netanyahu and Abbas need to engage in the process more
directly," he added.
"The diplomatic process sometimes feels irrelevant
to the lives of ordinary citizens on the ground."