Olmert Proposes New West Bank, Gaza Borders

Abbas rejects plan, which doesn't include contiguous Palestine
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 12, 2008 11:26 AM CDT
A Palestinian youth punches an Israeli border police officer in the face, during a protest against Israel's separation barrier in the West Bank village Naalin, near Modin, Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)
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(Newser) – Ehud Olmert has presented Mahmoud Abbas with a plan to withdraw from most of the West Bank and all of the Gaza Strip once the Palestinian Authority retakes Gaza from Hamas. The centerpiece of the proposal is a new permanent border that would keep 7% of the West Bank in Israel in exchange for adding some territory to Gaza. Abbas immediately rejected the proposal because it doesn't create a contiguous Palestinian state, though it offers passage without checkpoints between the West Bank and Gaza.

Under the Olmert plan, Israel would retain parts of the West Bank that include the largest settlements, and evacuate settlers from others. The proposal also includes a complex formula governing the Palestinian "right to return," although it makes no mention of the status of Jerusalem. Abbas' spokesman said the offer showed a "lack of seriousness" and called it a "waste of time."