Israel has agreed to a proposed formula for new peace talks with the Palestinians under which the border of their future state would be along lines that existed before the 1967 Middle East war, but with agreed land swaps, an Israeli official said on Thursday.
The official said that, were the Palestinians to accept the formula, it would be announced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who would also describe the future Palestine as existing alongside a “Jewish state” of Israel. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declined to comment.
Speculation has been rife that Kerry, now in the region for his sixth time since March in an effort to revive peace talks that deadlocked in 2010, may be close to a breakthrough.
Israel has previously balked at agreeing to the 1967 borders as a basis for talks with Palestinians. But the latest proposal addresses a longstanding central demand made by Netanyahu that the Palestinians explicitly recognise Israel as a Jewish state.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was conferring with Palestinian leaders on Thursday to decide whether to accept Kerry’s proposals for renewing talks with Israel.
Kerry said on Wednesday after talks with Abbas in neighbouring Jordan that gaps between the sides had “very significantly” narrowed. An Arab League committee endorsed Kerry’s proposals for resuming peace talks, saying they “provide the ground and a suitable environment to start negotiations”.