Talks with Israel were halted when Israel launched a devastating 22-day offensive in Gaza in December 2008, killing at least 1,200 Palestinians and leaving much of the Gaza Strip in ruins.

IN DEPTH

Abbas condemned the blockade as "collective punishment" against Gaza's 1.5 million residents and dismissed as "insufficient" an easing of the measures announced by Israel on Thursday, Erakat said.

Mitchell has brokered indirect talks between the Israelis and Palestinians and has been acting as a go-between since they started in May.

Mitchell is due to arrive in Egypt on Saturday.