U.S. Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell arrived in Israel for meetings with Israeli officials and later in Ramallah with Palestinian officials.
Mitchell arrived Thursday for a visit scheduled at the last minute following a meeting the day before between Israeli and U.S. diplomatic officials, Palestinian officials told Reuters.
It is Mitchell’s first visit to the region since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Obama met in Washington a month ago in a meeting that appeared to publicly illustrate the deep differences between the two leaders and countries.
Mitchell will meet Friday with Netanyahu, as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres. He is set to meet Saturday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, Ynet reported.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Netanyahu has rejected an Obama administration call for a total construction freeze in eastern Jerusalem, but has agreed to implement other confidence-building measures toward the Palestinians, including transferring more West Bank territory to PA security control and discussing final-status issues during indirect negotiations.