Israeli papers report new 'U.S.' peace plan 13% withdrawal, promise not to expand settlements included, newspapers say


JERUSALEM -- Two Israeli newspapers published details yesterday of what they said was a U.S. plan that would restart negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Neither U.S. nor Israeli officials would confirm the authenticity of the reported plan, but they did say an agreement could be reached in days.

The plan, as reported by Haaretz and Maariv, retains the withdrawal from 13 percent of the land on the West Bank that the Palestinians and the Clinton administration have insisted on as a minimum for a resumption of talks.

But it pairs the phased withdrawals with specific obligations on the Palestinians to undertake security measures that Prime PTC Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded, including confiscation of illegal weapons in Palestinian territories and concrete procedures for dealing with incitement, suspected terrorists and arms smuggling.

The reported plan also includes separate "understandings," one of which is that Israel will build no new settlements and will not allow "significant" expansion of existing settlements in the West Bank.

It is not clear whether such proposals have been presented by the United States in writing.

The reports follow a flurry of diplomatic activities this week by U.S., Palestinian and Israeli diplomats, including meetings in London between Dennis Ross, the American Middle East mediator, and two senior Palestinian negotiators.

Though the Palestinians have agreed to a 13 percent withdrawal by Israel, that encompasses only two of the three withdrawals envisioned in the Oslo agreements.

The scope of the third, which is relegated in the proposal to "a joint Palestinian-Israeli committee," is reportedly still a matter of contention.

Pub Date: 6/05/98

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