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Home >> World
UPDATED: 15:53, September 10, 2006
Unilateral pullout plan "disappeared" due to fighting in Gaza, Lebanon: Peres
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Israel's plan for a unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank has "disappeared" due to the recent fighting in Gaza and Lebanon, Vice Prime Minister Shimon Peres said on Sunday.

Peres told Israel Radio that "I think a one-sided realignment plan has disappeared because of what happened in Gaza and what happened in Lebanon."

Israel must consider other ways to proceed in talks with the Palestinians, Peres said, adding that "we have to find a way to move forward."

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Saturday that he intended to meet with Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to revive Middle East peace negotiations.

But he stressed that securing the release of the Israeli soldier captured by Gaza militants was top of the agenda ahead of any meeting with Abbas on a stalled road map peace plan.

According to Olmert's realignment plan, thousands of Jewish settlers will be unilaterally evacuated from large areas of the West Bank and beef up others in drawing Israel's final borders, even without reaching peace agreement with the Palestinians.

However, many Israelis began to doubt the plan's feasibility after militants in the Gaza Strip tunneled into southern Israel and attacked an Israel Defense Forces post, killing two soldiers and kidnapping one, despite Israel's withdrawal from Gaza.

Since the beginning of the Lebanese war, Israeli has been also reluctant to agree to a West Bank withdrawal, according to Peres.

Source: Xinhua

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