Palestinian officials are asking President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy to push Israel to accept the principle of Palestinian statehood.
Envoy George Mitchell is holding talks Friday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and other leaders in the West Bank. Israel's hardline prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has not signed on to the idea a Palestinian state. Mitchell said, after meeting Israeli leaders on Thursday, a Palestinian state alongside Israel is a US national interest.
Abbas aide Saeb Erekat said on Friday that the Obama administration must exert pressure on Israel to meet its previous commitments, such as accepting a two-state solution. He says a failure to do so will push the Middle East deeper into the hands of extremists.