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FRIDAY, 25 APR 2014
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Israeli defense chief proposes West Bank pullout
Associated Press
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, former deputy chief of staff and national security adviser Uzi Dayan, center, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak attend an event in Ramat Efal near Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, former deputy chief of staff and national security adviser Uzi Dayan, center, and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak attend an event in Ramat Efal near Tel Aviv. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty, File)
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OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel's defense minister is calling for a unilateral pullout from most of the West Bank if peace efforts with the Palestinians remain stalled.

Ehud Barak calls for uprooting dozens of settlements but says Israel would keep major settlement blocs, mostly near the frontiers of Israel proper, and maintain a military presence in an area along the border with Jordan.

His remarks came in an interview published Monday in the Israel Hayom newspaper.

He says it would be preferable to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians but after four years of deadlock, he says Israel must take "practical steps."

The Palestinians reject Israeli moves. They seek all of the West Bank under a negotiated agreement.

Barak's proposal is also likely to face heavy opposition from Israeli hardliners.

 
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