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Israel presents Palestinians with border proposals and security arrangements

Israel has presented its position on the borders and security arrangements of a future Palestinian state in a bid to keep exploratory talks in Jordan between both sides alive.

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An Israeli soldier fires his weapon at Palestinian youths during clashes following a protest against Israel's controversial separation barrier in Qalandia, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on Dec. 30, 2011. (Abbas Momani/AFP/Getty Images)

Israel has presented the Palestinians with its position on the borders and security arrangements of a future Palestinian state in an attempt to prevent exploratory talks between the two sides in Jordan from collapsing, Israeli and Palestinian sources have revealed.

It is the first time that the administration of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has broached the issue of borders with the Palestinians.

According to Reuters, Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molcho made a verbal presentation to the Palestinians on Wednesday, thereby meeting the January 26 deadline set by the Mideast Quartet last September when the US, UN, EU and Russia called on both sides to submit detailed proposals on borders and security arrangements, as a step towards relaunching full negotiations.

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Haaretz reported that Molcho did not give chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat any documents or maps during his presentation, or indicate percentages of lands mooted to be swapped.

Rather, Molcho reportedly outlined a series of basic principles, one of which stipulated that in any permanent agreement between the two sides most Israelis living in the West Bank will remain in Israeli territory, while the Palestinians in the West Bank will live in the area allotted to a future Palestinian state.

Palestinian officials said Israeli’s presentation on Wednesday was a non-starter, as it would preserve most Jewish settlements in the West Bank and leave the Palestinians with a fenced-off territory of cantons, Reuters reported.

The proposals do “not include Jerusalem and the Jordan valley, and includes almost all settlements,” according to one source.

Palestinians want their state to include East Jerusalem, the West Bank (including the Jordan Valley) and Gaza.

On Wednesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that dialogue between both sides on the resumption of full peace negotiations had ended without any progress, and that he would discuss next steps with the Arab League next week.

Negotiations between the two sides fell apart in late 2010 over Palestinian demands that Israel stop building settlements in the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/israel-and-palestine/120127/israel-presents-palestinians-border