Israel offers new 'West Bank' withdrawal map

Monday, May 26, 2008 |  staff writer

Palestinian officials said that Israel’s proposed withdrawal in which only 8.5 percent of West Bank territory remains in Israeli hands is still too much.

The latest withdrawal map is less than a previous offer, but still more than the Palestinians are ready to accept. Palestinian officials involved in negotiations with Israel said they were ready to trade only 1.8 percent of the West Bank.

The last map Israel offered had 12 percent of the West Bank remaining in Israel. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said progress has been made, but he refused to be specific.

Israel wants to keep the West Bank settlement blocs, offering in exchange land inside Israel between Hebron and Gaza to link the two territories. According to Israel’s proposed withdrawal, about 80,000 of the 270,000 Jewish settlers would be in annexed land. Just 8,500 Jewish settlers were removed from Gaza during Israel’s 2005 withdrawal.

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