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Olmert has put W Bank pullout on hold: Minister

A Cabinet minister says that the plan for a unilateral pullout from West Bank no more tops the PM's agenda as of now.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2006 11:55 IST

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has put his plans for a unilateral pullout from much of the West Bank on hold for now, but has not abandoned the idea altogether, a Cabinet minister said on Friday, confirming a newspaper report.

The Haaretz daily said Olmert told Cabinet ministers this week that in light of the Israel-Hezbollah war, the pullout was no longer his top agenda.

Support in Israel for unilateral moves appears to be dwindling after troops waged war this summer in two territories Israel left on its own, without a peace deal - Lebanon and Gaza.

Asked about the Haaretz report, Housing Minister Meir Shetreet told Israel Army Radio: "It is my assessment that the prime minister will not deal with this (the West Bank pullout) in the coming period, because it's really not on the agenda."

"I cannot say that the prime minister has dropped the plan. I don't think he has reached such a conclusion," said Shetreet, who opposes a unilateral pullout and favours trying to reach a peace deal with the Palestinians.

First Published: Aug 18, 2006 11:55 IST