Peace talking hold in Gaza?

Israeli acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

KAI RYSSDAL: The president's set for talks with Iraqi President Nouri Al Maliki later this week in Jordan. The White House told reporters this afternoon the president will acknowledge a new phase of violence in Iraq. A bit farther west in the Middle East there's talk of peace today.

Ben Gilbert has that story.


BEN GILBERT: Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said he'd make deep concessions to the Palestinians, including granting them a state, if the Hamas-led government recognizes Israel, renounces violence and frees an abducted Israeli soldier.
EHUD OLMERT [translator]: I hope very much they will show responsibility and goodwill. This could be the beginning of a serious, true and open direct negotiations between us and the Palestinian authority, between myself and Abu Mazen, in order to advance in the direction of a comprehensive settlement between us and the Palestinians.

Olmert's offer comes one day after Israel and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas agreed to a ceasefire after five months of fighting in Gaza. An Abbas representative told the AP that Israel and the Palestinians would need to maintain the ceasefire along the Israeli-Gaza border, then extend it to the West Bank.

A Hamas representative told the AP that the ceasefire was not legitimate unless Israel stopped military operations in the West Bank. Those military operations led to a Palestinian rocket attack today from Gaza, though no one was injured.

In Beirut, I'm Ben Gilbert for Marketplace.

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