Olmert, Abbas Talk on Palestinian Soil

Jericho get-together signals progress in stalled peace process
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 6, 2007 5:11 PM CDT
In this photo released by Israel's Government Press Office, Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, left, shakes hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, prior to their meeting at...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas met in the West Bank city of Jericho today, the first time an Israeli head of state has been to the Palestinian territories in 7 years. The meeting was an attempt by both parties to bolster the moderate Fatah party’s standing and to bring momentum to the two-state peace process, the Times reports.

The leaders spent half of the 3-hour meeting speaking in private; Olmert said they talked “fundamental issues which are the basis for the establishment of a Palestinian state.” Just organizing the meeting was a herculean task involving many decoy cars, and the coordination of security by both parties was as much a sign of thawing relations as the meeting itself.