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Israel threatens to draw border by itself

Israel to draw its own border in the West Bank if talks with the Palestinians are impossible.
None | By Press Trust of India, Jerusalem
PUBLISHED ON MAR 23, 2006 10:41 AM IST

Israel will draw its own border in the West Bank if talks with the Palestinians are impossible, acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said just days before Israel's elections, putting pressure on Hamas, which is poised to take over the Palestinian government while refusing to recognise Israel.

Olmert was interviewed on Channel 10 TV on Wednesday ahead of the March 28 election, as his Kadima party continues to hold a wide lead in the polls. On the Palestinian side, incoming Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh called a special session of parliament to approve his Cabinet, sweeping aside objections of President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel considers Hamas a terror group, and Hamas does not accept the presence of a Jewish state in an Islamic Middle East -- an equation that boosts Olmert's plan to go it alone after the election.

"We waited a reasonable time. If we see there is no reasonable chance (for a resumption of talks) we will take our fate in our own hands," Olmert said.

Olmert has said he wants to draw Israel's borders by 2010, by completing the construction of Israel's West Bank barrier, withdrawing from large parts of the West Bank and dismantling Jewish settlements.

"We have to solve the problem ourselves, not to become a hostage to the Palestinians to decide when things will happen and what will happen," he said.

A poll published last evening by Channel 10 and the Haaretz daily showed Olmert's Kadima Party holding on to its lead with 36 of the 120 seats in the parliament.

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