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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Arab League Makes First Israel Visit

JERUSALEM -- An Arab League delegation paid a historic visit to Israel on Wednesday to present a plan calling for comprehensive regional settlement, saying they were extending "a hand of peace" on behalf of the Arab world.

The visit by the foreign ministers of Egypt and Jordan marked the first time the 22-member group has sent representatives to Israel. The Arab League peace plan envisions full recognition of Israel in return for an Israeli withdrawal from lands captured in the 1967.

"We are extending a hand of peace on behalf of the whole region to you, and we hope that we will be able to create the momentum needed to resume fruitful and productive negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world, Jordan's foreign minister, Abdul-Ilah Khatib, said at a news conference with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the two delegates had been asked by the league "to come and offer Israel the Arab peace initiative."

At a news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the Egyptian envoy said the delegates "are not called upon to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians," but rather intended to help Palestinians and Israelis negotiation with each other.

Aboul Gheit and Khatib were slated to meet later Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and to appear at the Israeli parliament.

The visit, a day after the maiden voyage of new Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair, is part of a flurry of diplomatic efforts meant to restart peace talks after a seven-year lull.