The US secretary of state has insisted it is completely premature to write off the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

John Kerry said a lot of possibilities were in play, even though a dispute threatens to derail his efforts to extend negotiations beyond this month.

He made the comments after cancelling a visit to the West Bank on Wednesday.

Hours earlier, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he would seek further UN recognition unless a prisoner release by Israel went ahead.

At a televised meeting in the West Bank, Mr Abbas signed applications by the “State of Palestine” to join several UN agencies and ratify international treaties, beginning with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Leading members of his Fatah movement and the Palestine Liberation Organisation voted unanimously in support of the move, which the Israeli and the US governments have argued is deeply mistaken.

Israel meanwhile reissued tenders for 708 homes in the Jewish settlement of Gilo in East Jerusalem, the Israeli pressure group Peace Now said.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and formally annexed the area in 1980. Settlements built there and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.