Ramallah (West Bank): Israeli and Palestinian officials say their negotiators have been meeting quietly in recent weeks in hopes of ending a three-year standstill in peace efforts.
Palestinian officials said today that chief envoy Saeb Erekat has been holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's representative, Yitzhak Molcho. They say the men are trying to set up a meeting between Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Negotiations collapsed in December 2008 and remain frozen.
The Palestinians want Israel to halt settlement construction on occupied lands. Netanyahu wants talks to start without any preconditions.
An Israeli official confirmed "ongoing contacts" between the sides, and said Israel is ready to consider goodwill gestures to bring Abbas to the negotiating table.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing sensitive diplomatic contacts.