Israeli, Palestinian Negotiating Teams to Meet for Eighth Round

U.S. special envoy Martin Indyk will attend the meeting, which will take place after a two-week hiatus due to the meeting of the UN General Assembly.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiating teams will be meeting Thursday for the eighth time since direct peace talks were resumed in late July, Haaretz has learned.

The meeting between the Israelis and the Palestinians will take place after a hiatus of two weeks, due to the convening of the UN General Assembly.

U.S. special envoy Martin Indyk will participate in the meeting. He arrived in Israel Wednesday afternoon after having taken part in the meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House and in the meeting of the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers that took place last Friday at the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

While in the United States, Indyk told JStreet that the aim of the talks is a final-status agreement.

“All core issues are on the table,” Indyk said at the liberal pro-Israel group’s annual gala dinner Monday night. “Our common objective is a final status agreement, not an interim agreement.”

Recently both Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry have expressed the view that the pace of the talks must be accelerated and that serious discussions of the core issues must now begin.

Obama and Kerry have promised that American involvement in the talks will be intensified.

Saudi Arabia scraps UN address over Palestinians, Syria

Meanwhile, a diplomatic source told Reuters that Saudi Arabia's frustration at international inaction over Syria and the Palestinians led it to cancel its speech at the United Nations General Assembly for the first time ever this week.

"The Saudi decision... reflects the kingdom's dissatisfaction with the position of the UN on Arab and Islamic issues, particularly the issue of Palestine that the UN has not been able to solve in more than 60 years, as well as the Syrian crisis," said the source.

The conservative Islamic kingdom is one of the main backers of rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad in a civil war that has killed more than 100,000 people in two and a half years.

Riyadh also supports Palestinian independence and does not have diplomatic relations with Israel. In 2002 it pushed the idea of an Arab-Israeli peace plan in which Arab states would make peace with Israel if it retreated to pre-1967 borders.

GPO