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Breaking news: Palestinians reject Israeli withdrawal proposal


Palestinian leaders have rejected an Israeli proposal to unilaterally withdraw from Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

The recommendation was made yesterday by Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak during a speech to the Tel Aviv University Institute for National Security Studies.

The Palestinians say that without an agreement over the final status of east Jerusalem, they are against the idea of an Israeli pull-out.

Nabil Abu Rudineh, chief aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the Palestinians "object" to any unilateral action that will lead to "the formation of a Palestinian state in temporary borders."

Barak said a unilateral withdrawal may be the only solution to the breakdown in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Following the six-day war in June 1967 which led to the capture of the West Bank, the Palestine Liberation Organisation has turned down several peace plans. Opportunities for Palestinian statehood were rejected not only in 1967, but also in 1977, 1982, 2000 and 2008.

The defence ministers colleagues have also criticized Barak's offer. Israel’s disengagement from Gaza led to a Hamas takeover of the territory and the firing of rockets into southern Israel.

Likewise, the disengagement from southern Lebanon in 2000 was viewed by terrorist organisation Hezbollah as a sign of Israel’s weakness. In the years that followed, Hezbollah launched rocket attacks, carried out cross-border raids, and kidnapped and killed Israeli soldiers.