New York: In an attempt to spread peace, Israel is preparing an "extensive and tempting" withdrawal plan to give up 90 percent of the West Bank and evacuate 50,000 Jewish settlers, which would be offered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during direct negotiations with Palestine.
“Palestinian sources who had been briefed on the latest US-led diplomacy said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would offer an `extensive and tempting` withdrawal plan when long-awaited direct talks begin,” The New York Times quoted an Arab newspaper al-Sharq al-Awsat report, as saying.
Netanyahu wants to get around the impasse by proposing an interim agreement, under which 90 percent of the land would be transferred to the Palestinians and 50,000 of the estimated 350,000 settlers would be removed.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had been refusing to begin direct Israel-Palestinian negotiations unless Netanyahu agrees in principle to seek a final peace pact based on the borders before the 1967 Six-Day War.
Netanyahu, however, has ruled that out because it would leave all of the West Bank in Palestinian hands.
According to the sources, the offer matches the stand of the Hamas organisation, which would welcome any new Israeli withdrawal, as long as this does not force the Palestinians to give up on the rest of the territory.
Indirect Israeli-Palestinian talks, through US mediator George Mitchell, have gone nowhere, the paper states.
The US State Department said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had discussed breaking the deadlock in direct talks with Netanyahu.