Olmert Offers PA West Bank Withdrawal

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian Authority (PA ) President Mahmoud Abbas a detailed proposal for a future Palestinian state.

According to an aide in Olmert's office, the proposal included a map delineating proposed borders for two states.

Olmert wants to reach an agreement during his remaining time in office, however long that may be. He said he will resign when a new Kadima chairman is elected in September or if he is indicted on any of the criminal cases under investigation.

Olmert proposes an Israeli withdrawal from 93 percent of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), which includes alternative land in the Negev for the percentage that would remain Israeli.

The plan proposes that Israel retain the city of Ma'ale Adumim, the Gush Etzion communities and outlying Jerusalem neighborhoods.

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, new construction in Ariel and Efrat, approved by Olmert and his Defense Minister Ehud Barak, indicates they would like to hold on to these two cities.

Haaretz writes that Olmert intends to present his plan in stages to the Israeli public, noting that to keep the ultra-Orthodox Shas party from leaving the government, the status of Jerusalem will be postponed for now.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will visit the region next week to assess the plan's progress.

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