NEW YORK (AFP) - US President Barack Obama managed to get the Israeli and Palestinian leaders together in the same room, and yet they remained as far apart as ever. There was a sheepish handshake between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, but no announcement of a resumption of peace talks. Just more talks about holding talks and little to indicate the issues that stymied weeks of shuttle diplomacy by Obamas Middle East envoy George Mitchell had been resolved. Our position before and after this summit remains the same, Abbas told reporters, referring to Palestinian demands that Israel halt construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank before resuming negotiations. We insisted on the need for Israel to respect its commitments, notably an end to settlement construction in all its forms, he said. Netanyahu, for his part, said it was not the settlements that were holding up peace talks, but the Palestinian insistence on talking about them now. I think putting on preconditions is a way to make sure that the peace process does not move forward, Netanyahu later told ABC news. This basis must be a recognition that a withdrawal must be back to the June 4, 1967 borders, the Palestinian President said. Obama announced that he had asked both sides to send negotiators back to Washington next week for more discussions on relaunching the stalled dialogue to be brokered by Mitchell. He directed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to report back on how the talks were going by mid-October. But Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat voiced doubt that even if talks were to resume, Washington would not be able to push them to a final agreement. If the Americans cannot have the Israelis comply with stopping the settlement activities, who will believe that one day that they will be able to get the Israelis to withdraw to the 1967 border, or solve issues like Jerusalem or the refugees, Erakat said. Hamas was quick to condemn Abbas for meeting Netanyahu. He cannot claim to represent the Palestinians, but only his movement, Fatah, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP. His participation proves that he has not respected his promise to not negotiate (with Israel) before a settlement freeze.