April 30, 2010 - 12:00am

The Obama administration would consider allowing the United Nations Security Council to censure Israel over its activity in West Bank settlements in order to encourage the Palestinians to participate in peace talks, a Palestinian source told The Guardian on Friday.

According to the source, U.S. special Mideast envoy George Mitchell's deputy, David Hale, told Abbas that the Obama administration views Israeli construction in East Jerusalem as "provocative."

Hale reportedly promised Abbas that the U.S. would consider allowing a Security Council condemnation should such activity continue at a significant level - though he did not clarify what the Obama administration considered significant.

This assurance would mean a U.S. abstention on any resolution, rather than a veto, said The Guardian.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat flatly denied the report. It's not true," Erekat said. "We are still talking to the Americans."

Meanwhile, senior Israeli officials told Haaretz on Thursday that Obama told several European leaders that if Israeli-Palestinian talks remain stalemated into September or October, he will convene an international summit on achieving Mideast peace.

The officials said the conference would be run by the Quartet of Middle East peacemakers - the United States, European Union, United Nations and Russia - in a bid to forge a united global front for creating a Palestinian state. The summit, they said, would address such core issues as borders, security arrangements, Palestinian refugees and the status of Jerusalem.

The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported on Friday that Syria is opposed to the Palestinians returning to the negotiating table, because "Israel has not made enough gestures of good faith, and in light of the fact that senior officials in Israel have been sounding threats against Damascus and Beirut


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017