U.S. President Barack Obama's point man in the Middle East is on a new peace mission.
U.S. envoy George Mitchell met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank as part of the indirect peace talks with Israel. He said the goal is the creation of a Palestinian state, "which must begin with an agreement between Israel and Palestine that will provide for two states living side by side in peace and security and hopefully prosperity."
Mitchell said once the Palestinian issue is resolved, the U.S. will push for a comprehensive peace between Israel and the Arab world. "It also will include peace between Israel and Syria and normalized relations between Israel and all of the countries of the region," he said.
But so far, the Palestinians have refused to enter direct peace talks until Israel freezes all settlement activity in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. And now President Abbas has made a new demand: no direct talks until Israel accepts the borders before the 1967 war as the reference point for a Palestinian state.
Israel says direct talks must begin without preconditions, and that a Palestinian state is impossible without negotiating face to face.