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Palestinian officials say that Kerry has given them a June 7 deadline for finding a framework for talks. American officials say they have never set a formal deadline for Mideast peace talks resuming or any other benchmark being reached.
Concerned that the international community might blame them for the standstill, Palestinian officials are planning a public relations offensive and diplomatic meetings around the world.
Their main points will be to claim their willingness to compromise, based on a 25-year-old policy of recognizing Israel along the 1967 lines, their commitments to meeting past obligations and their acceptance of the renewed Arab peace initiative.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined comment ahead of Kerry’s visit.
Zalman Shoval, an unofficial adviser to the prime minister, said it is the Palestinians who are preventing peace talks from resuming. "The Palestinians unfortunately created a situation from the very beginning that Secretary Kerry’s initiative has no chance at the present time," Shoval said.
He said Israel and the U.S share the view that negotiations should begin without preconditions, but the Palestinians are refusing to resume talks unless their demands are met first.
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