Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday he wanted to get down quickly to full-scale peace talks, as he met United States envoy George Mitchell to hear the latest from the Palestinian side.

Mitchell, on his fifth shuttle since so-called “proximity talks” began in May after a hiatus of nearly 18 months in the peace process, told him: “We share your objective.”

In what appears to be a carefully choreographed diplomatic operation over the coming days, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to drop his objections and move from indirect talks to face-to-face negotiations.

US President Barack Obama wants to see the peace process upgraded to the level it broke off at nearly two years ago when Israel carried out a January 2009 offensive against Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.