Israel and P.A. Voice Commitment to Peace

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Israel and the Palestinian Authority say they are committed to achieving peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his envoy, Yitzhak Molcho, to deliver a letter to P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah over the weekend.

The letter was in response to an earlier letter from Abbas demanding a halt to building in Jerusalem and communities to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as a precondition for restarting peace talks.

The P.A. is also demanding a return to pre-1967 borders, which Israel calls "indefensible," and the release of all Palestinian Arab prisoners serving time in Israel.

Following the meeting, the two sides issued a joint statement.

"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 statement read.

It's the latest attempt to revive the U.S.-backed peace process and the first meeting between the two sides since January, when Israeli and P.A. delegations held several meetings in Amman before the P.A. aborted the effort.

Israel said it hoped the peace process would resume.

"The special envoy of Prime Minister Netanyahu met in Ramallah with Palestinian President Abbas and gave him a letter from the prime minister. We hope that this exchange of letters between the two leaders will further the peace process. That's our sincere hope," the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement.

Palestinians later said Netanyahu's letter was unclear on issues hindering the peace process. The PLO Executive Committee also said there was nothing new in the letter.

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