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Abbas, Olmert to meet on Monday
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A senior Palestinian official said Saturday that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will meet outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday.

The meeting is scheduled to take place in the occupied Jerusalem on Nov. 17, said Saeb Erekat, Palestinian peace negotiator.

"The meeting will focus on the situation in the Gaza Strip and the issue of (the West Bank) settlements," Erekat told Voice of Palestine radio.

Ten Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israeli military operations on Nov. 4. The Gaza-based fighters, led by Islamic Hamas movement, responded by resuming rocket attacks against Israel, rupturing the fate of a six-month ceasefire which took effect in June.

Abbas lost control of the Gaza Strip to his movement's bitter rival Hamas following a deadly infighting in 2007. Since then, Israel imposed a blockade on the Hamas-controlled territories while the United States mediated resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to strengthen Abbas.

The PNA blames the failure of achieving a peace agreement this year mainly on Israel's continuation of settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Olmert announced his resignation in September and has since run the Jewish state as a caretaker prime minister. He will remain in power until a new government is formed after the general elections slated for Feb. 10.

(Xinhua News Agency November 16, 2008)

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