Abbas: No agreement on land swap with Israel
The Palestinians are prepared to swap some land with Israel, although differences remain over the amount of territory to be traded, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Saturday. He made these remarks after the second round of indirect negotiations with U.S. envoy George Mitchell shuttling between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ended.
According to the AP, the Palestinian leader said the first round dealt with borders and security arrangements between Israel and the state the Palestinians hope to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Abbas dismissed recent media reports that the Palestinians are willing to trade more land than in the past, saying: "We did not agree about the land area, but we agreed on the principle of swapping land (equal) in quality and value."
In 2008, the Palestinians offered to cede 1.9 percent of the West Bank to Israel's ex-premier , Ehud Olmert, who sought a 6.5 percent swap.
It is not clear whether Netanyahu accepts the idea of a land swap, and if so, how much of the West Bank he wants to keep. Israel has moved nearly half a million of its citizens into dozens of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since capturing those territories in the 1967 Mideast War.
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