BEIRUT – The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah accused Arab leaders Saturday of caving in to U.S. pressure to bring the Palestinians back to peace talks with Israel.
Sheik Hassan Nasrallah made the statement after meeting Friday with the political leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
Last week, the Obama administration laid out a bold shift in its Mideast peace strategy, stepping up pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to resume stalled talks by moving immediately to negotiations on the toughest issues dividing them, like the borders of a Palestinian state and the status of Jerusalem.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said last week that dealing with those matters first would eliminate Palestinian concerns about continued construction of Jewish settlements in disputed areas. The Palestinians have refused to return to talks until such building stops.
A Hezbollah statement said Nasrallah and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal discussed "the ongoing political movement to resume negotiations under Israeli conditions." It added that this shows "the level of retreat and weakness in the official Arab position facing Israeli dangers and American pressure."
President Barack Obama's special envoy, George Mitchell, is expected in the region this week to press for a resumption of peace talks.