Mitchell meeting with Israeli, Palestinian counterparts

WASHINGTON (JTA) — The top U.S. Middle East negotiator is meeting his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts.

George Mitchell is meeting Wednesday with Yitzhak Molcho, a top adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Michael Herzog, the chief of staff to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Two days later he will meet with Saeb Erekat, the top Palestinian Authority negotiator.

The Obama administration failed last week in its quest to relaunch Israeli-Palestinian talks at the U.N. General Assembly in New York. Israeli and Palestinian leaders appeared with Obama to recommit to starting talks but did not set a date.

Mitchell hopes in the coming weeks to overcome differences over the depth of an Israeli settlement freeze and the breadth of the talks. Israel wants to focus only on borders, and the Palestinians want to raise all final status issues, including Jerusalem and refugees.

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