Israel plans letter to Abbas on potential peace deal

April 12, 2012, Thursday/ 00:42:00/ REUTERS

Israel will submit a letter to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas outlining a position for a future peace deal, and proposing talks be held at a higher level than planned, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Wednesday.    

The statement said Netanyahu would "propose raising the level of talks to hold them directly with Abbas", a suggestion Abbas has rejected in the past unless Israel stopped building settlements on West Bank land Palestinians seek for a state.     

Netanyahu also would propose a resumption of direct peace talks between the sides at a planned meeting with Palestinian officials next week, the Israeli statement said.     

Officials on both sides had said last week that Netanyahu would meet with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad later this month, in rare talks that may sharpen differences that brought peace negotiations to a standstill in 2010.     

Netanyahu's envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, would be delivering a letter to Abbas containing "Israel's position for a future deal with the Palestinians," the Israeli statement said without specifying what this position might entail.     

The Palestinians have said they would give Netanyahu a letter spelling out Israel's failure to implement a 2003 "road map" that calls for a halt to settlement construction as a step towards achieving a final agreement to establish a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

An Israeli official said at the time that Netanyahu would repeat his demand that Palestinians recognise Israel as a Jewish state, in any peace agreement - something they have opposed.            

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