Sharon to pull troops from West Bank

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is planning to pull out troops from some Palestinian cities in the West Bank along with evacuating some settlements.

    The Israeli PM tries to push roadmap ahead

    Israel's Channel 2 television reported that Sharon had drawn up a two-phased strategy to move forward on the US-b

    rokered peace "roadmap".

    Initially, Israel would evacuate settlements, do away with checkpoints and withdraw from occupied territories in the W

    est Bank.

    If these measures failed, Channel 2 said that Sharon would unilaterally determine a border and complete work on a s

    ecurity barrier around eastern West Bank.

    Such a move would leave the Palestinians with less than 40% of currently occupied land.

    Channel 2 said Sharon was effectively telling Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya: "This is your last

    opportunity to negotiate with me."

    Israeli officials declined to comment on the report.

    Unilateral steps

    Sharon had said on Thursday that Israel would have to give up some occupied land for peace, but also hinted he would

    take unspecified "unilateral steps" should talks with the Palestinians on advancing the peace plan fail.

    Under the roadmap, Israel had vowed to evacuate unauthorised settlements but has done little to prevent settlers

    from establishing new outposts since the launch of the peace plan.

    The United States has penalised Israel for the barrier and settlement expansion by deducting nearly $290 million

    from a multi-billion-dollar package of loan guarantees.

    Palestinians say the barrier, a line of concrete walls, electric fences and razor wire, is a bid to annex their

    land.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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