Today US Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with an Arab League delegation discussing their push at the UN Security Council for a timeline on an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines.
A Palestinian draft resolution being circulated by Jordan at the UN calls for the Israelis to leave the occupied territories – the territory of the proposed future Palestinian state – by November 2016.
Much of the world sees a sense of urgency for moving the peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians forward.
Israel's Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu met with Kerry yesterday, asking him not to allow the resolution to to advance at the UN.
In response to Israeli pressure, France, the UK and Germany have drafted their own version for a UN resolution. It essentially says more of the same from the past, deflecting the issue rather than asserting concrete steps, calling for a return to negotiations with a view to achieving a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians to live side by side in peace.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov altered his schedule and flew into Rome to hold an unscheduled meeting with Kerry on the topic as well saying, “I am convinced that the Middle East settlement issues need to be solved urgently and we must not allow the situation to deteriorate”.
Israeli relations with the Palestinians worsened after the conflict with Hamas in Gaza this past summer and amid growing unrest in Jerusalem, due in part to extremist Jewish circles seeking to gain access to Islam's third holiest site, the Haram El-Sharif to pray and worship.
Further settlement expansion, particularly around Jerusalem and in densely populated Arab Muslim neighborhoods, have further exasperated the tension.
Arab League ministers want the US to abstain from vetoing the proposed resolution at the Security Council, as the US usually exercises it's veto power on behalf of it's ally Israel.
There are other Western diplomats who feel the Arab draft, particularly with its deadline for withdrawal, is unbalanced.
But with the West dependent upon Arab countries in the fight against the Islamic State and other instabilities across the Muslim world, it seems the resolution is certainly getting a closer scrutiny this time around and is placing pressure upon America and Israel to alter their course of tactics concerning the Palestinians.
Middle East Correspondent