Clinton heads to West Bank to consult with Palestinian chief, then to Jordan to meet with king

By Robert Burns, AP
Thursday, September 16, 2010

After peace talks, Clinton heads to West Bank

JERUSALEM — After two days of inconclusive Mideast peace negotiations, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton headed to the Palestinian Authority’s headquarters in the West Bank on Thursday for one-on-one talks with President Mahmoud Abbas.

Afterward, Clinton was scheduled to travel to Amman for a working lunch with Jordan’s King Abdullah, whose country already has a peace treaty with Israel and is a strong supporter of efforts to work out a deal between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations — which started Tuesday in Egypt and concluded Wednesday in Jerusalem — produced no apparent breakthrough. Both sides said they would continue striving toward their goal of a final settlement within one year.

Dates for the next round of negotiations at the leaders’ level are supposed to be determined during consultations next week.

Gaza militants opposed to the peace efforts have heated up the border with Israel in recent days, sending mortars and rockets crashing into southern Israeli communities and drawing retaliatory Israeli airstrikes.

Overnight, Israeli aircraft hit two Gaza targets that the military described as weapons storage facilities. No casualties were reported.

Palestinian official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said the Israeli military also canceled plans to let new cars enter Gaza on Thursday for the first time in four years. The Israeli military had no immediate confirmation.

The passage of new cars through Israel was banned after militants affiliated with Gaza’s ruling Islamic militant Hamas Party captured an Israeli soldier in June 2006. The serviceman, Sgt. Gilad Schalit, remains in captivity.

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