Page last updated at 17:22 GMT, Monday, 7 April 2008 18:22 UK

Israel hosts face-to-face talks

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert shake hands
Israel hopes to avoid further boycotts by the Palestinians

The first round in seven weeks of talks between Israel's prime minister and the Palestinian leader has ended with pledges to continue meeting regularly.

Mahmoud Abbas broke off peace talks with Ehud Olmert last month after about 120 Palestinians, many civilians, died in an Israeli operation in Gaza.

Both sides are under domestic as well as international pressure to achieve a peace deal in the coming months.

At the Jerusalem meeting, each side voiced concern at the other's actions.

The Palestinians say Israel is damaging the chances of peace by building on occupied land, carrying out raids against Palestinian towns and destroying the Palestinian economy with roadblocks and checkpoints.

Israel says the Palestinian leadership is not doing enough to tackle militants.

The Israelis say their operation in March was aimed at stopping militants from firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The faltering new attempt at a peace process was launched in the US last November, but the BBC's Katya Adler in Jerusalem says there has been little progress since then.

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