U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has begun to push for a resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) after meetings with the two sides, PA officials told AFP on Sunday.
"Kerry began the U.S. administration's real intervention," a high-ranking official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
"The U.S. push for finding a solution has begun," he added.
Kerry accompanied U.S. President Barack Obama on his first official visit to the region last week and, after Obama left the region on Saturday, Kerry stayed behind and met PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas in Amman. He then travelled to Jerusalem for talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Washington's top diplomat "did not want to impose any ideas for now on the two sides, and has no specific plan as yet," the official told AFP, adding it was "too early to talk about bilateral or even trilateral meetings."
The U.S. administration "will, in the next two months, present a plan of action to the two sides for the next political steps," he added.
"We consider Obama and Kerry's visit to have normalized U.S.-Palestinian relations" in the wake of a Abbas’s recent bid for upgraded UN recognition, the official indicated.
PA negotiator Saeb Erekat told AFP Abbas was willing to “resume the peace process based on recognition of the 1967 borders.”
"It is not possible to resume talks that are not based on these," he said.
During his meeting with Obama, Abbas had ruled out the idea of a partial freeze on Jewish construction building in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem, Erekat said.
He claimed that if Israel halted all Jewish construction in the area and recognized the pre-1967 borders, "it could lead to an immediate resumption of talks."
A report on Saturday indicated that Kerry is planning on offering Israel and the PA an outline which would see Israel releasing terrorists from its prisons and transferring areas from Area B, which is under joint PA-Israeli control under the Oslo Accords, to Area A which is under full PA control.
Kerry’s outline would have the PA undertaking a return to the negotiating table and promising not to file lawsuits against Israel with the International Criminal Court.
Abbas has continuously imposed preconditions on peace talks and has demanded that Israel freeze Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem. When Israel froze construction for a ten-month period in 2010, however, he refused to come to the table.