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Monday, October 19, 1998 Published at 13:23 GMT 14:23 UK


Land for peace: territory under dispute



Under the parts of the Oslo accords implemented so far, the Palestinians have full or partial autonomy in 27% of the West Bank. This includes all the main towns, except for Jerusalem.

Around 24% of the territory, containing about two-thirds of the population, is under mixed Israeli military and Palestinian civilian control.

According to the Oslo accords and a pledge to the US, Israel was supposed to make three further pullbacks from the West Bank before mid-1998 and before moving onto a final agreement by May 1999, although the original timetable is now largely irrelevant.

The first of these withdrawal of just under 3% has already been rejected by the Palestinians as too small.

The second withdrawal is the one currently in dispute.

The US is thought to want an Israeli withdrawal from a further 13.1% of the West Bank. This is far less than the Palestinians originally wanted, but they have indicated that they would accept it, partly as they know that this puts pressure on Israel to accept or take the blame from the US and the rest of the international community.

The amount is not thought to be acceptable to Mr Netanyahu who wants to give away less than 10%, although he has signalled that this might be adjoining parts of the West Bank rather than isolated patches.

Yasser Arafat has in the past warned that if no agreement is reached by May 1999, he would unilaterally proclaim a Palestinian state, which could lead the Israeli government to annex parts of the West Bank and set the scene for open conflict.

Briefing from BBC Research



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