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Israel, Palestinians to seek path back to talks

Saeb Erekat
Saeb Erekat, Palestinian chief negotiator, speaks to journalists during a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah on January 2, 2012, regarding peace negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel to take place in Amman, Jordan on January 3. Getty

After a long stalemate, Jordan is spearheading a new effort to revive the Middle East peace process.

Israeli and Palestinian chief negotiators will meet for the first time in more than a year on Tuesday in Amman. While it is not a formal negotiating session, officials will seek a formula for resuming peace talks that have been deadlocked over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat and Israeli envoy Yitzhak Molcho will meet with teams from the Quartet of Middle East mediators - the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia.

The key sticking point remains: Palestinians say they will not return to the negotiating table until Israel halts all settlement construction, but the Israeli government has refused.

Expectations are low for the talks, and even Erekat himself says he expects no breakthrough in Jordan.