Israel and Palestine probably won't sign a peace deal this year but could agree on a "declaration of principles," a top Israeli minister said today. The announcement by Vice Prime Minister Haim Ramon follows weeks of warnings that a peace treaty could topple Israeli's coalition government, and that Palestine's president lacks the influence to fulfill such a deal.
Ramon's statement also clashes with President Bush’s goal of brokering a peace agreement during his presidency. But Ramon added that a declaration could contain enough details to “lead to a Palestinian state” within two or three years. "It has to be detailed enough in order to implement it in the years that will come after 2008," he said.