Israel Offers Palestinians 80 Percent of West Bank
Palestinian Authority officials confirmed a report in the Israeli daily Ma'ariv Thursady that Israel has offered it a land transfer in stages, said the Jerusalem Post Friday.
This is to start with the creation of a state on 66 percent of the West Bank in September, and possibly another 14% of land in the Jordan Valley in another couple of years, said the daily.
The Jerusalem Post first published a report on May 7, which quoted Palestinian sources as saying Israel offered them an "interim state" on 66% of the land, while negotiations on borders and Jerusalem would be postponed until later. The PA official told the Post, in a report published on May 11, that Israel offered to connect Palestinian areas using bridges and tunnels, while the PA was demanding that territorial continuity be established by the transfer of land occupied in 1967.
Palestinian negotiator Yasser Abed Rabbo confirmed the report on Thursday saying Israel offered the Palestinians control of 80 percent of the West Bank during recent talks on a draft peace accord, said Reuters Thursday.
The statement was the first official indication of how much West Bank land Israel has offered to hand back at the stop-start talks in the Israeli resort of Eilat.
The Palestinians rejected the Israeli offer at last week's negotiations and walked out.
But Rabbo said Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak later indicated at a meeting with Palestinian President Yasser Arafat on Sunday that the proposal was not Israel's final offer.
The reports said Israeli negotiator Oded Eran made the offer in a map he presented during the Eilat talks which the Palestinians walked out of. Barak and Arafat then met on Sunday.
“Yes, that's what he did. His (Eran's) prime minister told (Palestinian President Yasser) Arafat that this map is not official and not to take it seriously,” Abed Rabbo told Reuters.
Another Palestinian official also confirmed the figures.
Palestinians said that according to the map which they rejected, Israel planned to annex large parts of the West Bank.
The sides are trying to hammer out the draft for a final peace accord to be reached by September 13, tackling the sensitive issues of borders, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements.
The talks in the Red Sea resort have so far failed to produce any progress on the sensitive issues of borders, Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlements on occupied territory – (Several Sources)
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