Netanyahu supports land swaps: WikiLeaks

A confidential diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports the notion of land swaps with the Palestinians.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2010, 21:06 PM IST

Jerusalem: A confidential diplomatic cable
released by WikiLeaks says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu supports the notion of land swaps with the
Palestinians.

But a statement on Tuesday from the Prime Minister`s office
said Netanyahu meant only that he was willing to accept
territorial compromises within the framework of a future peace
deal.

``That was Netanyahu`s open policy, that is his policy
today and in the aforementioned meeting in February 2009 he
did not voice any other position,`` the statement said. ``Any
other interpretation is incorrect and definitely does not
represent the prime minister`s position.``

Netanyahu has been very careful to keep his positions on
Israel`s future borders very close to the vest.

The Feb 26, 2009 cable, dated two weeks after the Israeli
leader was elected, says ``Netanyahu expressed support for the
concept of land swaps, and emphasized that he did not want to
govern the West Bank and Gaza but rather to stop attacks from
being launched from there.``

This sentence was contained in the cable summary but is
not amplified in the section of the report that refers to
peacemaking with the Palestinians.

US Embassy spokesman Kurt Hoyer would not comment on the
cable.

He said the diplomat who signed off on it, Luis G Moreno,
had left Israel and could not immediately be reached.

Previous Israeli governments and the Palestinians have
expressed support for the concept of trading West Bank land
where Jewish settlements stand for Israeli territory.

Netanyahu has not publicly voiced his opinion on this matter,
though his foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, favors
redrawing Israel`s borders to include settlements and exclude
areas with large Arab populations.

The US had hoped Israel would renew a moratorium on new
settlement construction so it could try to reach an agreement
with the Palestinians on future borders. But negotiations
remain deadlocked over continued Israeli construction in the
West Bank and east Jerusalem, areas the Palestinians claim for
a future state along with the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

PTI