WASHINGTON (CNN) - Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will soon be heading to Washington to discuss the stalled peace process, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday.
The Israeli team is scheduled to arrive on Thursday and the Palestinian negotiators will arrive next week, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said.
The Israeli team will be led by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's advisers Yitzhak Molcho and Mike Hertzog, the prime minister's office said Sunday.
Top U.S. envoy to the region George Mitchell invited both sides to Washington during his weekend discussions with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
It is unclear who will represent the Palestinian side.
Mitchell met for a second time with Netanyahu on Sunday, after "useful and constructive" talks on Friday, Netanyahu's office said. He also met with Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Mitchell returned to the region last week to advocate peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, but significant obstacles remain.
It's his first visit to the region since Obama met with Netanyahu and Abbas in New York in September - a discussion that ended with a failure to get the two sides to agree on peace talks.
Abbas has said the Palestinians will not return to negotiations until Israel freezes construction in settlements in the West Bank and stops building in East Jerusalem. The United States has pressured Israel to do that, but Netanyahu's government has declined, saying instead that it will limit construction in the West Bank and continue to build in East Jerusalem.
Persuading Abbas to relent on his demand for a freeze on settlements, meanwhile, may be much harder now than it was just weeks ago. That's because of a controversial decision by the Palestinian Authority to defer action on the United Nations' Goldstone report that criticized Israel and Hamas for committing war crimes during its six-week military offensive in Gaza. About 1,000 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed during the offensive in December and January.
Many Palestinians have rebuked Abbas and his Fatah-affiliated Palestinian Authority for its decision. Hamas, the rival Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, has called it treason. The criticism has weakened Abbas politically and made it harder for him to back down on his insistence that Israel stop building settlements before Palestinians return to the negotiating table.
Mitchell made a similar trip to the region in mid-September, spending a week talking to Netanyahu and Abbas in hopes of brokering a deal ahead of their meetings with Obama.