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Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 01:37 GMT
Sharon outlines his peace vision
Israeli settlers walk through Hebron, a town in the West Bank
Bush's 'roadmap' called for an end to settlement-building
The Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has set out, for the first time, his proposals for the creation of a Palestinian state.


Logical, realistic and feasible

Israeli PM Ariel Sharon on his peace plan
The plans, he said, correspond to a framework outlined earlier this year by US President George W Bush which said that a Palestinian state would follow Palestinian reforms.

They call for a Palestinian state within parts of the West Bank and Gaza, with provisional borders by next year and definitive ones by 2005.

However, the plans, Mr Sharon stressed, were conditional on "an absolute end to terror" and, "above all else, all the Palestinian security organisations must be disbanded."

He also demanded the replacement of the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.


This will not fly... The only road to peace is when Israel withdraws to the June 1967 borders

Saeb Erekat, Palestinian spokesman
Speaking at a conference near Tel Aviv, Mr Sharon repeated pledges to seek government approval for a peace plan if - as expected - his Likud party is voted back into office on 28 January.

In Mr Sharon's vision, Israel would allow a Palestinian state in areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip allocated to full or partial Palestinian control, but Israel would keep a grip on "essential security areas".

"The Palestinian state will be demilitarised. It will be able to have police with light weapons.

"Israel will control the borders and airspace," Mr Sharon said. He called the plan "logical, realistic and feasible".

Saeb Erekat
Erekat dismissed Sharon's vision
Mr Sharon also made assurances that the army would not become a permanent presence in Palestinian cities it currently occupies due to "security demands".

But the proposals were almost immediately rejected by a leading Palestinian spokesman, Saeb Erekat.

"Sharon is repeating his ideas of a long-term interim solution on 40% of the West Bank and 70% of the Gaza Strip. This will not fly...

"The only road to peace is when Israel withdraws to the June 1967 borders," he said, referring to the frontiers that existed before the outbreak of the Middle East war of that year.

There was more violence in Gaza on Wednesday, as Israeli missiles killed a security guard, Mustafa Sabah, who had made bombs for a militant group.

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24 Jun 02 | Middle East
04 Dec 02 | Middle East
23 Nov 02 | TV and Radio reports
21 Nov 02 | profiles
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