PLO: Palestinian leaders to vote on talks with Israel

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Palestinian leaders will vote on proposals by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to resume peace talks with Israel, a Palestine Liberation Organization official told Agence France Presse on Thursday.

Under the proposal, talks would resume without stipulating that Israel must freeze settlement-building in the occupied territories, which has been a key demand of the Palestinian Authority.

“The most important of Kerry’s proposals is a renewal of talks without a halt or freeze in settlement,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

Kerry, who described the future Palestine as existing alongside a “Jewish state” of Israel, is in the region for his sixth time since March in an effort to revive peace talks that have been deadlocked since 2010.

He said Israelis and Palestinians were narrowing the gaps between them, but declined to discuss details of his proposals that he laid out to Arab officials, or how the gaps had been narrowed.

Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, described as “untrue” a Reuters report that his country had agreed to a future Palestinian state along the borders that existed prior to the 1967 Middle East war, but with agreed land swaps.

Israel has previously rejected the 1967 borders - an important Palestinian demand - as a basis for peace talks.

An Arab League committee endorsed Kerry’s proposals, saying they “provide the ground and a suitable environment to start negotiations.”

(With AFP and Reuters)