JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. envoy George Mitchell returned to the Middle East to relaunch his shuttle diplomacy between the Israelis and Palestinians.
Mitchell met Monday evening with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon his arrival in Israel in an attempt to revive peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. He is scheduled to meet Tuesday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
He arrived in the Middle East days after the United States dropped efforts to convince Israel to freeze settlement construction.
Mitchell’s shuttle diplomacy has characterized much of the Obama administration’s peace efforts.
Netanyahu publicly praised the United States over the weekend for saying that it would stop working to force Israel to restart the settlement construction freeze and instead work on both parties to address the core issues of a peace settlement.
"I welcome this American decision," Netanyahu said Monday in a speech in Tel Aviv. "It is good for Israel. It is good for peace."