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Quick Takes: News From Israel You May Have Missed

U.S.-backed Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are expected to generate a principal agreement by the end of the year to establish a Palestinian state in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, according to a source who participates in the negotiations.

In one of the first media glimpses into the current negotiations, the source who takes part in the regular meetings outlined for this column the main objectives of the secretive negotiations.

The agreement, according to the source, will require Israel to evacuate most of the West Bank and certain eastern sections of Jerusalem. Israeli community blocks in the zones of Gush Etzion, Maale Adumin and Ariel would remain Israeli while most of the West Bank and parts of Jerusalem will be slated for a Palestinian state.

“It is understood [that Jerusalem] Arab neighborhoods would become part of a Palestinian state,” the source said.

The source told WorldNetDaily that both sides agreed that Israel would retain Jerusalem’s Pisgat Zeev neighborhood, which is located near large Arab communities. (Many of those Arab towns were constructed illegally on property owned by the Jewish National Fund, a Jewish nonprofit that purchases property using Jewish donors funds for the stated purpose of Jewish settlement.)

The U.S. was said to have pledged advanced training for thousands of PA security officers to take over security in the West Bank and eastern sections of Jerusalem, operating in those territories in place of the Israel Defense Forces and Israeli police.

Scores of Palestinian security officers previously trained by the U.S. have carried out terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians, including recent deadly shootings in the West Bank. But the source claimed the planned U.S. training is different in that the officers are being vetted more closely and are receiving more advance training.

The source said that as part of the negotiations, Abbas has agreed to hold early PA elections in the West Bank by 2009, including presidential elections that could replace the Palestinian leader.

Palestinian Authority elections have previously been held simultaneously in both the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The source’s description of planned new elections to be held only in the West Bank imply that the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip will be treated as a separate entity.

The source said that while a signed agreement and PA security force training can be expected before the end of the year, it has not yet been determined when any Israeli withdrawals would be implemented.

The source said the U.S. is “very deeply involved” in all aspects of the negotiations.

Syria: U.S. Can Buy Our Loyalty

If the U.S. helps facilitate billions of dollars in business for Syria and builds up Damascus as the primary American ally in the Arab world in place of Saudi Arabia, the Syrians would be willing to discuss scaling back alliances with Iran and making peace with Israel, according to a senior Syrian official speaking to WND.

The official said Syria is asking the U.S. to end its opposition to a trade and association agreement between Damascus and the European Union drafted in 2004 that is said to be worth about $7 billion per year for the Syrian economy. The agreement was not signed or implemented, largely due to American pressure, said the Syrian official.

He said Syria also demanded as a key condition for considering altering its alliances that the U.S. cease opposing Syrian influence in Lebanon.

The main Syrian request is that America uphold Damascus as its main “partner” in the Arab world instead of Saudi Arabia, said the Syrian official. He said that in exchange Damascus would discuss severing “many ties” with Iran, but he would not specify which ties and whether Syria is willing to cut off all coordination with the Iranians.

He also said Syria would be willing to negotiate a solution to the issue of the Golan Heights – mountainous territory looking down on Israeli population centers, which Syria used twice to launch ground invasions into the Jewish state.

Saudi Arabia earlier this year began shipping weapons to the anti-Syrian leadership in Lebanon to bolster them against Damascus’s influence and the Syrian-backed Hizbullah, the officials said.

The Syrian-Saudi crisis was highlighted at last week’s Arab Summit, a major annual meeting of Arab leaders that was held this year in Damascus. Saudi Arabia sent only a low-level representative – which was seen as a major snub – and used the platform to blast Syria.

Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief for WorldNetDaily.com. He appears throughout the week on leading U.S. radio programs and is the author of the recently published book “Schmoozing with Terrorists.” 

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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