Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas has secretly met with Israeli defense minister amid warnings at home against resuming direct talks with Israelis.
Abbas held talks with Ehud Barak on Sunday during a clandestine meeting in a private home in Amman, AFP quoted Israeli media reports as saying on Tuesday.
Barak had earlier talked with King Abdullah II in the Jordanian capital.
The secret meeting comes in the run up to the US-sponsored direct negotiations scheduled to start on September 2 in Washington.
King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak are also expected to join an inaugural meeting in Washington on Wednesday between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abbas, who will participate in the direct talks the following day.
The talks mark the first direct negotiations between the two sides since Israel’s deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip broke off talks in December 2008.
Abbas is facing mounting criticism from Palestinians who charge the Palestinian Authority with yielding to "US and Israeli pressure." The Palestinians have also raised concerns that further concessions on the part of Abbas could lead to an intensified violation of their rights by Israel.