Report: Sharon intends to scrap a U.S.-led ”road map”
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon intends eventually to scrap a U.S.-led "road map" to peace with the Palestinians and instead seek Washington's approval for annexing occupied West Bank lands, a Tel Aviv-based daily reported on Monday.
The report by Maariv was dismissed by a senior Israeli political source as "pure speculation".
A senior Palestinian official said he doubted whether Washington or the European Union would endorse the plan described by the Israeli newspaper.
Maariv said Sharon will argue that Israel was justified in abandoning the US-backed peace plan and setting borders unilaterally because of the failure of the Palestinian side to crack down on armed groups.
The Maariv report said Sharon would go public with his new plan after Palestinian parliamentary elections this month, when Israeli intelligence has predicted a new outbreak of violence. It said Israeli officials had already presented the idea to counterparts in President George W. Bush's administration. "(They) explained to the Americans that since there is no real chance of any achievement in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, the natural partner for this matter is Washington, the Middle East's superpower-broker," Maariv said.
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