The United Nations envoy to the Middle East has urged Israel to accept a new Syrian proposal to renew peace talks.

Terje Roed-Larsen made the appeal in a meeting with the Israeli parliament's Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday.

Mr. Roed-Larsen, who visited Damascus last week, said he feels Syria has stretched out, what he called, a genuine hand of peace and Israel should grab the opportunity.

Israel leaders have dismissed as insincere Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's offer to resume peace talks without any preconditions. They accuse Syria of harboring groups that want to destroy the Jewish state.

Syria and Israel last held peace talks in January 2000.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.