Plan to solve Mideast conflict

2009-11-09 07:19

Tel  Aviv - Israeli front bench opposition legislator Shaul Mofaz on Sunday presented his diplomatic plan for solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling for a temporary Palestinian state in 60% of the West Bank, followed by permanent border negotiations.

Addressing a news conference in Tel Aviv, Mofaz said the proposed Palestinian state should be demilitarised, and after the temporary state is established, permanent borders should be negotiated while legislation is prepared to compensate Israeli settlers who would lose their homes in the West Bank.

"We will stop occupying another nation," Mofaz said. "As a first step, the Palestinian state will be in 60% of the West Bank and Gaza; 90% of the Palestinians will be there."

Palestinians are demanding a state in all of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East War. They have also rejected any state with temporary borders.

Mofaz, a former military chief of staff and defence minister, said he could also negotiate with Hamas if the Islamist organisation accepted the international community's demand to accept Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and honour previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

If Hamas accepted the international conditions, Mofaz said, "it will no longer be Hamas".

"Responsible leadership in Israel would sit with those who changed their priorities," he said.

Mofaz narrowly lost the leadership of the centrist Kadima party to Tzipi Livni in party elections last year. He disagreed with Livni's decision not to enter into a national unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party earlier this year.