JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman denied on Thursday Israel had agreed to a formula for new talks with Palestinians based on the border of their future state being drawn along lines from before a 1967 war, with agreed land swaps.
An Israeli official had earlier told Reuters that if the Palestinians accepted the formula, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry could announce the relaunch of peace talks. He would describe the future Palestine as existing alongside a “Jewish state” of Israel.
But Mark Regev, a spokesman for Netanyahu, called Reuters and said “the report is untrue”. Netanyahu’s office had earlier declined to comment on what had been said by the first official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Kerry is visiting the region and hoping to find enough common ground for Israel and the Palestinians to renew peace talks stalled since 2010.
Israel has previously balked at agreeing to the 1967 borders as a basis for talks. Netanyahu demands that the Palestinians explicitly recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Asked about Reuters’ initial report that Israel had agreed to the 1967 formula, a U.S. official cautioned that “there is a great deal of inaccurate information out there right now and our focus is continuing to work through details with both parties”.
Kerry said on Wednesday after talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Jordan that gaps between the sides had “very significantly” narrowed.
An Arab League committee said proposals for resuming peace talks made by Kerry, which have not been made public, “provide the ground and a suitable environment to start negotiations”.
Writing by Dan Williams and Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Editing by Andrew Roche