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Israeli PM: Agreement Possible With Palestinians

Israel's prime minister says he believes he can reach agreement with the Palestinians on core peace issues soon, despite his limited time in office.

Ehud Olmert said in Washington Tuesday that the two sides do not need months to make a decision on a peace agreement. He was speaking a day after meeting with U.S. President George Bush, who helped to relaunch Middle East peace talks last year.

Time is running out for both leaders, who said they wanted to conclude a Middle East peace deal by the end of this year. Mr. Bush leaves office on January 20, and Israel will elect Mr. Olmert's successor three weeks later.

Israel again shut its borders with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to rocket attacks from the Hamas-run territory.

Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Malki said he is very worried about the situation following Israel's frequent closures of the aid-dependent territory. Prime Minister Olmert denied that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

In other news, the human rights organization Yesh Din says the Israeli military filed charges against just six percent of Israeli soldiers accused of criminal offenses against Palestinians from late 2000 until 2007.

In a report released Tuesday, the groups says more than 1,200 investigations were opened against military personnel, and only 78 of them resulted in charges being filed.

Of those soldiers indicted, many were given sentences far from the maximum sentences permitted by law.

Yesh Din says its report is based on information provided by the Israeli Defense Force.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.