Abbas, Obama Wish Israelis Happy New Year

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- President Obama and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas both wished Israelis a happy new year ahead of the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which begins on Sunday evening.

Abbas called his Israeli counterpart, Shimon Peres, to deliver a holiday greeting.

Abbas wished him and "the entire Israeli nation" a "happy holiday and a happy new year," to which Peres responded, "I know the past year has been a difficult year, but we mustn't give up…we must continue to strive for peace," according to YNet.

Last weekend, Abbas announced plans to address the U.N. General Assembly on September 27 to ask the world body to recognize "Palestine" as a sovereign state, based on the  pre-1967 borders, with Jerusalem as its capital. Experts say those lines would make Israel indefensible.

President Barak Obama also posted a greeting for the Jewish New Year on YouTube.

In his Rosh Hashanah greeting, Obama -- who just this week said he would not have time to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu either in Washington or on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly -- cited Jewish tradition, saying it's time to "renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies, including the State of Israel."

"At a time when our public discourse can too often seem harsh; when society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us; I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another," Obama said.

"In that spirit, the Jewish tradition teaches us that one of the most important duties we have during this period is the act of reconciliation," he continued.

"We're called to seek each other out and make amends for those moments when we may not have lived up to our values as well as we should. In that spirit, Michelle and I wish you and your families a sweet year full of health, happiness and peace.

"At a time when our public discourse can too often seem harsh; when society too often focuses on what divides us instead of what unites us; I hope that Americans of all faiths can take this opportunity to reach out to those who are less fortunate; to be tolerant of our neighbors; and to recognize ourselves in one another. And as a nation, let us be mindful of those who are suffering and renew the unbreakable bond we share with our friends and allies -- including the State of Israel.

"In that spirit, Michelle and I wish you and your families a sweet year full of health, happiness, and peace. L'Shana Tovah!"

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