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Breakthrough? Abbas gets Arab backing to enter Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

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"Arab governments are under the impression that the Americans are serious this time," he adds. "Most of them are pro-American and they want to see the US involved in the negotiations.''

Letter from Obama allays concerns

After three months of indirect "proximity talks'' the peace process seems stalemated. Abbas has been demanding an Israeli halt on building in the West Bank as a precondition to upgrading to direct talks. Israeli cabinet ministers, by contrast, say that the governments 10 month moratorium on new construction won't be renewed.

The Palestinians also want a deadline for talks with Israel and a commitment that the negotiations will resume where the negotiations with the previous Israeli administration left off.

A recent letter from President Barack Obama to the Palestinians and Arab governments have allayed some of the Palestinians' concerns but not all of them, says Ghassan Khatib, a spokesman for the Palestinian Authority.

"Apparently the American letter has addressed part of the concerns,'' said Khatib. "The letter helped, it didn't address all the concerns.''

Are Israeli lawmakers undermining Netanyahu?

Back in February, the Arab League agreed to indirect talks to be reviewed after four months. Though the agreement to direct talks only in principle, both Dajani and Khatib said it represents an easing of the Arab League's initial skepticism.

Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa said that the organization is still looking for "written guarantees'' on settlements. Abbas told the forum that he would agree to direct talks once he gets assurances on building and using the 1967 West Bank border as a basis for talks.

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