JERUSALEM, Israel -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held marathon talks on Thursday aimed at restarting direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
A joint statement described the atmosphere as "friendly and productive" and said officials would meet in the coming days to create "conditions for the resumption of direction negotiations."
"We've been talking and will talk today about how to resume them to continue this process to get the historic agreement with peace and security between us and the Palestinians," Netanyahu said.
Will Netanyahu be able to withstand increasing pressure from the White House to reinstate the construction freeze? CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell addressed that issue and others on CBN News Channel Morning News, Nov. 12. Click play to watch.
"I would like to add that we also hope to broaden it to many other Arab countries. So this is our common goal. We're quite serious about doing it and we want to get on with it," he said.
The talks stalled in September after a 10-month Israeli building freeze in Judea and Samaria - the West Bank - expired.
The U.S. has been trying to convince Israel to reinstate the freeze, but former Israeli ambassador to Washington, Zalman Shoval, told CBN News a settlement freeze isn't the answer.
"One must be completely blind not to understand that if Israel were to agree to another freeze for another three months, the Palestinians would come up with another demand for another freeze," Zalman said.
"So that's an ongoing thing. What should be done - and I think that is the task of the United States administration - is to say to the Palestinians, look all these problems will or can or should be solved in direct talks with Israel," he said.
Earlier this week, Israel angered the Obama administration by announcing the start of new building projects in Jewish neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.
But Shoval says the U.S. position only encourages Palestinian "intransigence" to dig their heels in further.