JERUSALEM – Israeli and Palestinian leaders are delving very quickly into some of the most difficult issues dividing them, the U.S. special envoy to the region said in an unusually upbeat report Wednesday, even as Israeli fighters bombed a smuggling tunnel and Palestinian militants launched mortar rounds into southern Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu greeted Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at his Jerusalem residence, with a Palestinian flag as a backdrop, for two hours of talks that also included Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and U.S. special envoy George J. Mitchell. The two leaders had met in Egypt for more than two hours Tuesday, also accompanied by Clinton and Mitchell.
“They are serious, they mean business,” Mitchell told reporters afterward. “I will say that the two leaders are not leaving the tough issues to the end of their discussions,” he said. “We take this as a strong indicator of their belief that peace is possible.”
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