As part of her five-day trip to the Middle East, the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem. On the menu: the prospects for renewed efforts for peace with the Palestinians. Political sources in Israel say it will be difficult to seriously discuss steps for strengthening the position of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at a time when there are violent clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Israel, however, like the Bush administration, is becoming increasingly focused on Iran and its nuclear policy. Condoleezza Rice is due to hold talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Amir Peretz later.