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Israel to draw borders by 2010

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expects to draw Israel's permanent borders by 2010.

india Updated: Mar 10, 2006 12:21 IST

Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert expects to draw Israel's permanent borders by 2010.

As part of that effort, he will build a controversial settlement outside Jerusalem, Olmert said in an interview published on Thursday.

Olmert, whose Kadima Party is the clear frontrunner ahead of March 28 elections, told The Jerusalem Post daily that within four years, he intended to "get to Israel's permanent borders, whereby we will completely separate from the majority of the Palestinian population and preserve a large and stable Jewish majority in Israel".

Olmert said Israel would act unilaterally to set its borders if Hamas militants -- poised to take control of the Palestinian Authority -- do not renounce their violent campaign against Israel and accept the guidelines of an internationally backed peace plan within a "reasonable time".

Should Hamas resist, he said, "we will need to begin to act".

Olmert said his broad guidelines for Israel's borders included its three major settlement blocs _ Maaleh Adumim and Gush Etzion outside Jerusalem, and Ariel, deep inside the West Bank.

Borders would also include Jerusalem and its immediate environs, and the Jordan River Valley, which Olmert characterised as a "security border".

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat urged Olmert to return to the negotiating table. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has stated his interest in resuming long-stalled negotiations.

But Olmert told The Jerusalem Post he had no intention of meeting Abbas after Israel's elections because he sees him as part and parcel of a Palestinian Authority dominated by Hamas.

First Published: Mar 09, 2006 18:42 IST