Syrian newspaper: Arab League may reject U.S. proposal for peace talks
Palestinian Authority seeks Arab League approval before resuming proximity talks in mid-May.
The Arab League is expected to reject the Obama administration's proposal to begin indirect Middle East peace negotiations in the coming weeks, sources from the 22-state body Syria's Al-Watan daily on Tuesday.
The league's Monitoring Committee for the Arab Peace Initiative is scheduled to meet on Saturday to vote on the proposal, and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is unlikely to accept any offer for peace talks that does not meet the panel's approval.
U.S. President Barack Obama's special Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, was in the region over the weekend in an effort to convince the sides to launch the proximity talks by mid-May.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Mitchell during their talks that he was willing to discuss the core issues of the Israel-Palestinian conflict, namely Jerusalem, borders and security arrangements, as part of the proximity talks with the Palestinian Authority.
The prime minister told Mitchell that as part of the indirect talks he would be open to a "frank exchange of views," regarding the core issues.
The U.S. envoy will return to the region next week for more meetings with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Netanyahu.
Officials in Jerusalem are hoping that the visit of the Palestinian leader to Washington next week following the Arab League summit on May 1 will lead to a resumption of proximity talks.
The dominant view in the PA was that the Palestinians would agree to resume talks within two weeks so that they will avoid being seen as not wishing to pursue peace, but a final decision could be swayed by the Arab League vote.
The Palestinian Authority has demanded that Israel cease construction in East Jerusalem before it agrees to renewing talks. According to Arab media, Mitchell told Abbas over the weekend that Israel has agreed to refrain from constructing in East Jerusalem for the duration of the proximity talks, but would not declare a complete freeze.