Olmert, Abbas summit seen next week

Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas are expected to discuss ways of building on the Hamas-Fatah schism next week.

Aides to the Israeli prime minister and Palestinian Authority president said Thursday that they expected to meet early next week, the first summit since Abbas dissolved the Hamas-led government and formed a moderate emergency Cabinet with international backing.

Yediot Acharonot reported that the Olmert-Abbas talks may take place in Egypt under the auspices of President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah. The Egyptians and Jordanians, both facing restive Islamist opposition at home, have been especially troubled by Hamas’s violent seizure of the Gaza Strip last week, which triggered the Palestinian Authority’s political crisis.

Olmert was meant to have met Abbas in the West Bank town of Jericho this month but that summit was canceled amid Palestinian Authority complaints about Israel’s refusal to hand over tax funds withheld since Hamas was voted into power last year.

Now that Abbas has split with Hamas, Israel has indicated it will approve significant cash transfers. Olmert was expected to seek his Cabinet’s approval for the move on Sunday. 

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