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Gates meets with Israeli, Palestinian PMs

By Charley Keyes, CNN
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Robert Gates visits Israel amid terror
  • NEW: Gates meets with Salam Fayyad
  • A mid-week bus bombing kills 1, wounds more than 50
  • American defense secretary says U.S. - Israeli defense-security relationship never has been stronger

Caesarea, Israel (CNN) -- U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates conferred with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers on Friday, a visit that comes amid new tensions between both sides.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Gates by his side, said Friday that Israel is ready to act "with great force and great determination" against terror attacks.

They had a breakfast meeting at the Mediterranean resort of Caesarea.

Gates offered his condolences to families of victims of the Wednesday bombing in Jerusalem, when an explosive device in a bag exploded near the city's central bus station.

A 59-year-old British woman was killed and more than 50 other people were wounded. There has been no claim of responsibility.

Israeli forces have also struck targets in Gaza lately in response to rocket fire from the Palestinian territory into southern Israel.

Netanyahu said civilized countries have a common stake in fighting terrorism.

"We seek to establish security for the establishment of peace," Netanyahu said.

Gates said the U.S. - Israeli defense-security relationship never has been stronger.

"We both face a region that is in turmoil," Gates said.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Gates met Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, the first visit of a U.S. defense secretary to the city.

Fayyad said this was a time of great challenge that required the redoubling of the effort to pursue peace, and Gates told Fayyad he looked forward to talking about the prospects for a two-state solution.