"We discussed all the aspects of the peace process . . . especially the way to continue with the process," Israeli chief negotiator Oded Eran said after meeting for about an hour over lunch with his Palestinian counterpart, Saeb Erekat, at Palestinian local government offices in the West Bank town of Jericho.
Eran said more meetings drawing in other negotiators were planned over the next few days to "push this peace process forward."
The meeting came less than a week after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat failed to craft a final agreement during two weeks of talks mediated by President Clinton at Camp David, Md. Erekat said both sides' leaders agreed on Sunday's meeting while at Camp David.
"Camp David did not fail," Erekat said. "I'm not saying that Camp David succeeded, but I think we are determined to exert maximum effort to achieve a full agreement."
Later Sunday, Shlomo Ben-Ami, who had been on the Israeli team at Camp David, and Mohammed Dahlan, who had been on the Palestinian team, were to meet in Gaza, their offices announced.
Eran and Erekat are in charge of negotiations to implement outstanding issues from the earlier Oslo agreement between the sides. In that pact, Israel agreed to make a third troop withdrawal in the West Bank, handing over more land to the Palestinians, and to release 250 Palestinian prisoners from jail.
Barak has said he wants to merge the third troop withdrawal with the permanent settlement, but the Palestinians say Israel must fulfill all its commitments under the interim accord before a final agreement is reached.
In an interview Sunday in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper, the speaker of the Palestinian parliament called one of Israel's Camp David proposals "dangerous."
Qureia said that if the Israelis maintain sovereignty over the site, where an ancient Jewish temple once stood, "in a few years . . . they can come and destroy or demolish the mosque, and this is one of the most dangerous proposals I have ever heard."
Al-Aqsa is located on the site of the second Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. The hill on which it stands overlooks the Western Wall, the holiest site to Jews and the last remnant of the second Temple compound.
As Qureia's comments illustrated, the Israeli-Palestinian relationship is at a sensitive point in the wake of the Camp David meeting. In an Israeli television interview broadcast Friday, Clinton raised the stakes, saying Barak had moved further toward peace than had Arafat and adding that he was considering a reward for Israel: moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Clinton's comments drew outrage from Palestinians and other Arabs.
Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, an architect of the peace process, touched on another sensitive point Sunday in an Israeli radio interview: He said that if the Palestinians insist that more than a million Palestinian refugees must have the right to return to Israel, there will be no peace agreement. Israel will cease to exist as a Jewish state if unlimited numbers of Palestinian refugees are permitted to enter its territory, he said.
Barak has said that most of the refugees should establish themselves in the countries where they now live, including Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. Some should be allowed to return to a Palestinian state that would be established in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, he has said. Jordan, Syria and Lebanon reject that solution, as do the Palestinians.
Barak reportedly is willing to permit some 60,000 to return to Israel under a family-reunification scheme, but this has not been officially confirmed.