The latest: Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Israel is not bound by a December 2008 target for a peace deal set at last week's Mideast summit, saying that progress will depend on the Palestinians' ability to rein in militants.

What it means: The comments, made to his Cabinet, reflected Olmert's internal political weakness. Hard-liners have threatened to bring down his coalition government if he makes too many concessions with the Palestinians.

Also angering hard-liners: Today Israel is expected to release 429 Palestinian prisoners in a gesture to moderate President Mahmoud Abbas, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday he supports a measure to give compensation to Jewish settlers in the West Bank who leave their homes voluntarily.

Meanwhile in Gaza: Hamas rulers ordered census workers to halt the first Palestinian population count in a decade, derailing a rare joint endeavor with the rival Fatah movement. Hamas balked when surveyors refused to share their data as it was collected. Census officials said no political factions could see the data until the census was complete.

ASSOCIATED PRESS