Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are due to meet in Jericho on Thursday for their first talks in nearly two months, according to officials in Abbas’ office.Their first meeting in a West Bank city comes after an escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, with more than 50 Palestinians, among them 8 children, believed to have been killed by Israeli army fire.

During a mid-March visit to the region, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice convinced Olmert to hold bi-weekly talks with the Palestinian president on daily issues of security and Palestinian living conditions, but the two have since only met once on April 15.