WASHINGTON (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton ended a six-hour meeting with little more than an agreement on the usefulness of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.
"The prime minister and the secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals," said a State Department statement at the conclusion of the meeting in New York.
"The secretary reiterated that ‘the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.’"
The Obama administration has been pressing the sides to return to direct talks since the Palestinians walked out in late September over Netanyahu’s refusal to extend a 10 month partial moratorium on settlement building.
U.S.-Israel tensions flared this week when Israel announced plans to build more than a thousand new housing units in eastern Jerusalem during Netanyahu’s visit to the United States.
The State Department statement said U.S. and Israeli teams would work toward resuming direct talks in "the coming days."