* Two Israelis shot as direct Palestinian-Israeli talks began on Thursday
* Abbas promises “to make these negotiations successful”
* Israeli deputy premier: latest terror attacks reminder of need to get peace talks on track

Two Israelis were shot in a second terror attack in as many days as the first direct peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians in almost two years began in Washington on Thursday, September 2. Iran-backed Hamas said it carried out the attack against Israeli civilians.

Gunmen opened fire on a young couple as they drove close to Ramallah. The husband was moderately wounded, his wife sustained minor injuries. The incident followed the killing of four Israelis in another roadside shooting on Tuesday, August 31.

The attacks were roundly condemned by Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister Dan Meridor, who spoke to reporters at a briefing organized by The Israel Project on Thursday in Israel. However, he said, they only reaffirm the need for a lasting peace deal.

“This is another illustration of the fragility of the situation here and another reminder of the need to get all of us on the track to peace,” said Meridor.

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chaired Thursday’s meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Both leaders spoke of their hopes ahead of the parley during a working dinner hosted by President Barack Obama and also attended by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

“We assure you, in the name of the PLO, that we will draw on years of experience in negotiations and benefit from the lessons learned to make these negotiations successful,” said Abbas.

He was responding to Netanyahu’s commitment “to find solutions… direct our courage, our thinking, and our decisions at those historic decisions that lie ahead.

The Israeli leader reminded his interlocutors that first and foremost for Israelis is their security and that “defensible peace requires security arrangements that can withstand the test of time and the many challenges that are sure to confront us.”

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