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Palestinian Factions Agree to Hold Talks on Recognition of Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and representatives of Palestinian factions have agreed to hold talks aimed at bridging differences over the recognition of Israel.

The agreement was reached Sunday at a meeting in Mr. Abbas' office in the West Bank town of Ramallah. An advisor to Mr. Abbas told the Associated Press the delegations will hold a series of meetings starting Monday.

Mr. Abbas has threatened to hold a national referendum on a negotiated peace with Israel.

Last week, he said if Hamas does not accept a two-state solution within 10 days, he would call a vote of confidence in the Hamas-led Palestinian government.

Hamas says it has no intention of amending its charter that calls for the destruction of Israel.

Mr. Abbas believes a referendum, in which most Palestinians are expected to approve the two-state idea, could enable Hamas to moderate its views without directly recognizing Israel. That, in turn, could help end the international sanctions that have crippled the Hamas government and the Palestinian economy.

Israel has not responded to the plan proposed by Mr. Abbas and has vowed to unilaterally set its borders unless peace talks resume within months.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.