'Secret' plan would give Palestinians West Bank - Comment - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper
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    • Joseph E . Post 1
    • 20.09.07 | 20:05 (IST)

    Posted: August 17, 2007 1:00 a.m. Eastern By Aaron Klein © 2007 WorldNetDaily.com The talk of behind-the-scenes negotiations follows a WND report earlier this week stating newly installed Israeli President Shimon Peres has quietly drafted a plan for the Jewish state to evacuate and transfer to the Palestinians nearly the entire West Bank and several Arab Israeli cities located within territory that is undisputedly Israel's according to the international community. The West Bank is strategic territory that runs alongside Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Tel Aviv and Israel's international airport. It is home to many biblical Jewish communities and some of Judaism's holiest sites. Peres has presented his initiative to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and to top aides for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the past few weeks, after he took office as Israeli president last month, diplomatic sources in Jerusalem told WND. The official role of president here is limited largely to ceremonial matters; the president does not create foreign policy. Olmert is mulling over the plan and agrees with much of its contents, the diplomatic sources said. Peres' plan calls for Israel to hand 97-percent of the West Bank over to Abbas, with Israel retaining a small number of the territory's Jewish communities. In exchange for Israel keeping some land, the Jewish state will give the PA control of Arab Israeli cities north of Tel Aviv which, together with the evacuated West Bank territory, would amount to the equivalent of 100 percent of the West Bank. Already during his bi-weekly meetings with Abbas, Olmert has granted a number of security concessions to Abbas regarding increased Palestinian control of the West Bank. The Israeli prime minister last month granted amnesty to 178 gunmen from Abbas' Fatah organization who comprise most of the senior leadership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the declared military wing of Fatah that is responsible for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. Olmert is reportedly considering granting amnesty to 206 more Brigades terrorists. According to Palestinian officials, the Israeli Prime Minister already informed the PA that Fatah gunmen are largely immune from Israeli anti-terror raids regardless of whether they are officially on Olmert's amnesty list. Also, Olmert is strongly considering removing hundreds of Israel Defense Forces roadblocks and checkpoints situated in strategic sites located throughout the West Bank. The IDF sees the checkpoints as crucial in helping stop terrorists, including suicide bombers, from infiltrating Jewish cities. As well, in a scantily-reported but major move, Israel last week started allowing armed Palestinian policemen to patrol areas in the West Bank that fall under Israeli security control according to the 1993 Oslo Accords. Security in the territory, referred to as Area B, is supposed to be ensured by the IDF, which still monitors the area but has allowed for an unprecedented stepped-up armed Palestinian security presence there. In response to the renewed momentum toward a Palestinian state, rabbis for the Yesha Council of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria ? the West Bank ? yesterday slammed the Israeli government for considering major concessions. The council released a statement expressing "concern at the irresponsible diplomatic moves being made during these days, the main point of which is the consent to the establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria. These moves are founded upon irrelevant considerations of political survival, and are being made in total opposition to the opinion of the defense establishment."

    from the article: Rice: Mideast summit must be 'substantive', advance PA state
    First published 00:00 20.09.07 | Last updated 00:00 20.09.07
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