Luai Salama, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, said Israeli authorities had informed him on Wednesday night he was to be deported to Gaza for four years. The army had no immediate comment.

"It is unfair. It is a war crime and a violation of international humanitarian law," he said.

Israel has deported more than 20 Palestinians from the West Bank to Gaza in recent months, saying that to put them on trial would expose agents who provided information about them.

Salama, a resident of the village of Qaryot near the West Bank city of Ram Allah, said he had been arrested by an undercover Israeli unit during an army raid into Ram Allah two years ago.

Condemnation

"They accused me of being a risk to Israel's security," he said. "That's how they describe people they want to put in jail or deport."

"It is unfair. It is a war crime and a violation of international humanitarian law... They accused me of being a risk to Israel's security. That's how they describe people they want to put in jail or deport"

Luai Salama,
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command

Human rights groups have condemned the Israeli policy of deportations in the recent past.

Amnesty International has called the policy a grave violation of human rights and a challenge to the internationally recognised principle of a fair trial.

The group says that anyone suspected of a criminal offence
should be charged and brought to trial, or immediately released.

Sharon plan

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has presented his plan to "disengage" from the Palestinians to a team of senior US officials.

The plan includes a proposal to evacuate Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, a US official said.

William Burns, the assistant secretary of state for Near East affairs, and White House officials Steve Hadley and Elliot Abrams began meeting with Sharon in his office in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Sharon has said he will start unilaterally disengaging from the Palestinians in the next few months if there is no progress in the US-backed roadmap peace plan with the Palestinians.

As part of his plan, the right-wing leader has pledged to evacuate 17 Gaza settlements and other isolated Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Settlements

Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who met with the US delegation on Wednesday, told public radio that the officials were "not opposed to the evacuation of settlements".

"But they want the Israeli plan to be integrated into the roadmap as laid out in President (George) Bush's vision which sees a two-state solution," he said.

"They (US officials) don't want settlers from the Gaza Strip to be transferred to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), or the annexation of territories there in exchange for an evacuation of Gaza"

Silvan Shalom,
Israeli foreign minister

"On the other hand, they don't want settlers from the Gaza Strip to be transferred to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), or the annexation of territories there in exchange for an evacuation of Gaza," he said.

An official close to Sharon said the premier would only present the US team with "the basics" of the plan before presenting it more completely to Bush.

Roadmap

Another senior US diplomat stressed that Israel must follow through with peace moves for the West Bank, in addition to evacuating the Gaza settlements, which are consistent with the US vision of a two-state solution to the conflict.

"A comprehensive resolution cannot include only Gaza first and last," David Satterfield, deputy assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, said in an interview broadcast on Egyptian state television.

The diplomat also said the Palestinian leadership must emerge as a partner in peace by improving security for Israelis and reforming its political institutions.

The roadmap peace plan calls for a Palestinian state existing peacefully alongside Israel to be created by 2005.