Al Jazeera correspondents put the statements of the three leaders in perspective.
Olmert and Abbas pledged to work towards a lasting peace settlement at a Middle East peace conference on Tuesday in Annapolis, Maryland.
Speaking after the conference, Condoleeza Rice, US secretary of state, said Abbas and Olmert would continue talks after meeting Bush at the White House.
She said the two leaders would meet again on December 12 and continue discussions every two weeks after that.
The Bush administration plans to name Marine General James Jones, a former Nato commander, as a US liaison between Israel and the Palestinians, according to reports.
“Palestinians and Israelis each understand that helping the other to realise their aspirations is the key to realising their own, and both require an independent, democratic, viable Palestinian state,” he said.
He said the Palestinians must improve security and stability in their territories and said the expansion of Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law, should stop.
He did not mention the most intractable issues of borders, the final status of Jerusalem and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.
Neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis have indicated they will move from their positions on those points.
|Many commentators expect little to come out
of Annapolis beyond the handshakes [AFP]
Bush said pointedly at Tuesday’s conference that “the United States will keep its commitment to the security of Israel as a Jewish state and homeland for the Jewish people.
“We have to start comprehensive and deep negotiations on all issues of final status, including Jerusalem, refugees, borders, settlements, water and security and others,” he said.
He expressed the Palestinians’ desire for East Jerusalem to be the capital of “our state”.
Meanwhile, in the occupied territories, an Israeli air raid killed two Hamas fighters in the south of the Gaza Strip, medics said.
Five others were wounded in Wednesday’s raid that targeted Hamas’s Executive Force, a paramilitary unit that has acted as police since Hamas seized control of Gaza in mid-June.
An Israeli army spokesman confirmed an aerial attack had been carried out, and said fighters had launched 11 rockets and mortars from the territory into Israel on Wednesday.
In the West Bank, 28 Palestinians were injured in clashes with the Palestinian police.
The clashes broke out in Hebron during the funeral of the young man who was killed on Tuesday by police in a protest against the Annapolis conference.
The police opened fire in the air and wounded two people.
Elsewhere, Israeli gunboats shelled Hamas police positions along the coast of Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians and injuring another three, Palestinian medical sources said.
A spokesman for the Israeli army said that the shelling targeted a site of Hamas after firing mortar shells.