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Israel, Palestinians To Restart Talks In Washington

Israeli and the Palestinian negotiators will sit down to peace talks in Washington on Monday, picking up from where they left off five years ago, the State Department says.

Secretary of State John Kerry has personally extended an invitation to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to send senior negotiating teams to the U.S. capital "to formally resume direct final status negotiations," spokesperson Jen Psaki said.

"The Israelis will be represented by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yitzhak Molcho, and the Palestinians will be represented by Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammad Shtayyeh," the statement said.

Earlier this month, Israel agreed to release more than 100 Palestinian prisoners, resolving a key obstacle to restarting talks.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu's cabinet on Sunday approved the draft of a bill that would mandate any accord with the Palestinians that necessitates land swaps be put to a referendum of Israeli voters.

"Any agreement, if it is achieved in negotiations, will be brought as a referendum," Netanyahu said during the meeting. "It is important that every citizen will directly vote on fateful decisions like these that determine the future of the state."

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