Olmert, Abbas meet on Gaza


Mahmoud Abbas met Ehud Olmert to press for an end to Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority president visited the Israeli prime minister’s Jerusalem residence Sunday for the latest diplomatic talks, which were launched at November’s Annapolis peace conference.

Officials on both sides said the meeting would focus on Israel’s decision to slap a closure on Gaza following a surge in cross-border rocket salvos this month. Hamas responded to the move by blasting through the Gaza-Egypt border last week, setting off a regional crisis.

Abbas aides said he would propose that Israel lift the siege in exchange for a Palestinian Authority guarantee of security on Gaza’s borders. According to some reports, Egypt was interested in seeing Abbas’ security forces, which were driven from Gaza by Hamas in June, returning to control the border crossings.

Israeli officials had no immediate word on Abbas’ proposal, which Hamas has opposed.

Recommended from JTA