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May 14, 2012

Israel asks Palestinians to resume talks

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. (UPI/Debbie Hill)

JERUSALEM (UPI) -- Israel sent a letter to the Palestinian leadership, seeking to resume talks on a peace process, the Jewish Telegraph Agency reported Sunday.

The report said an envoy for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally delivered the letter to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah Saturday night.

There was no official disclosure of the letter's contents, but the agency said it was likely a call to "return to the negotiating table without preconditions."

Netanyahu's letter was in response to a letter from Abbas last month in which the Palestinian leader called for a return to a 1967 agreement for two states and land swaps, the report said.

The Palestinians are also demanding Israel stop building settlements on disputed territories, including East Jerusalem.

Abbas and the Israeli envoy issued an optimistic joint statement after the letter exchange.

"Israel and the Palestinian Authority are committed to achieving peace and the sides hope that the exchange of letters between President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu will further this goal," the release said.

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