JERUSALEM – Embattled Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will meet the Palestinian president before flying to Washington for talks with President Bush next week, a top Palestinian official confirmed Friday.
Casting a shadow over both meetings, however, is a widening corruption probe that threatens Olmert's political survival.
Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said Olmert would meet President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday. Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev confirmed the meeting, but not the timing.
Since the pair met May 5, new allegations against Olmert have led his top Cabinet deputy and main coalition partner to suggest his days as leader are numbered.
An Israeli poll published Friday showed that hardline Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu would win national elections if Olmert is ousted. Based on the poll, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, of the ruling Kadima party, would come in second with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, of the Labor Party, third.
Erekat said Monday's talks would include discussion of a permanent peace agreement and Egyptian attempts to broker a truce between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Border clashes have occurred almost daily since Islamic Hamas took over Gaza last year and Israel has closed all crossings from the coastal strip.
Palestinian doctors said seven demonstrators were wounded by Israeli gunfire Friday as they marched toward near a southern Gaza crossing to protest the blockade. Separately, a Palestinian health official said a 65-year-old woman died early Friday after being shot by troops near the border during the night. The military had no record of a shooting at the time.