Mofaz proposes Palestinian state in one year

JERUSALEM (JTA) – A leading Kadima Party member presented a plan to establish a Palestinian state within one year.

Shaul Mofaz, the No. 2 man in the party, presented a plan Sunday during a news conference that would have Israel negotiating with Hamas and establish a temporary Palestinian state on 60 percent of the West Bank.

The borders eventually could extend to outlying Jerusalem neighborhoods and see the relocation of about 70,000 settlers living in isolated settlements to the Galilee, the Negev or into settlement blocs, according to reports.

Mofaz would annex settlement blocs to Israel in exchange for Israeli territory, and has committed to a final Palestinian state on at least 92 percent of the West Bank and Gaza. 

Mofaz said he favors negotiation with Hamas if it is serving as a valid government.

"If Hamas is elected and wants to negotiate and accept Quartet conditions, then it’s no longer Hamas," he said. "Responsible leadership in Israel would sit with those who changed their agenda. I expect the Palestinians to be courageous and consider the plan deeply and realize there is something to discuss."

A Hamas spokesman said the group would not negotiate with Israel.

"We do not believe in engaging with the occupation, or in talks that would beautify its face in the eyes of the world," Fawzi Barhoum was quoted as saying in the Jerusalem Post.

Army Radio quoted some Kadima members as calling the Mofaz proposal  "an irresponsible step."

Mofaz also indicated that he could one day challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the top spot.

"I don’t have a political objective with the plan, but if Netanyahu doesn’t implement it, I will implement the plan as prime minister," Mofaz said. 

In presenting the plan, Mofaz is ramping up his challenge to the leadership of Kadima head Tzipi Livni.
 

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