The U.S. says Israel and the Palestinians must start direct talks before there can be any negotiation on borders and security as part of a two-state peace deal.
The sides are supposed to present plans by late January as part of a U.S.-backed mediation effort. But they should already have been engaged in face-to-face talks since October. Those haven't happened yet.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Friday the U.S. and other Mideast mediators were pressing Israel and the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Only then can they work on the parameters of a deal establishing an independent Palestine and ending six decades of conflict.
Toner rejected an Israeli report suggesting the Palestinians delivered their proposal on borders and security to mediators, who passed it on to Israel.