Photostream : Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman meets Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) is welcomed by his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado before a meeting in Lisbon January 25, 2011. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) talks with his Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado during a meeting in Lisbon January 25, 2011. REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro

Photo : British Foreign Secretary William Hague meets Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman

In this handout provided by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, British Foreign Secretary William Hague accompanies Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on a tour of The Churchill War Rooms on January 24, 2011 in London, England. During a meeting with his British counterpart, Lieberman responded to al-Jazeera's 'Palestine Papers', stating that extreme Muslim radicals, not Israel, was the biggest threat to the Palestinian Authority's leadership. Lieberman is on a three-day visit to the UK. Meanwhile, the UK said that William Hague stressed the British government’s commitment to a strong bilateral relationship with Israel. The UK, and the Foreign Secretary personally, sees Israel as a close friend of longstanding. The Foreign Secretary underlined the UK’s opposition to efforts to delegitimise Israel. They welcomed efforts to deepen economic and scientific co-operation between the UK and Israel, and confirmed that the next meeting of the UK/Israel Strategic Dialogue would take place in Jerusalem on 17 March. The Ministers discussed regional issues, including their shared determination to see a resolution to Iran’s nuclear programme to avoid an arms race in the Middle East. The Ministers’ discussions centred on the Middle East Peace Process. (Photo : GETTY IMAGES )

Israel's Foreign Minister drafting plans for provisional Palestine

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2011 file photo Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gestures during his meeting with the Greek President Karolos Papoulias at the Presidential Palace in Athens. Israeli media are reporting that authorities will decide by the end of February whether to indict Lieberman on corruption charges. The decision follows a decade-old investigation into Lieberman's business dealings, involving suspicions of bribery, breach of trust and other allegations.(AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, Files)

JERUSALEM, Jan 23 (KATAKAMI.COM / AP)  – Israel’s foreign minister is putting together an interim peace plan that would grant the Palestinians limited independence in an attempt to blunt their efforts to win international recognition of an independent state, a government official Sunday.

The Palestinians rejected the notion of a provisional state as a “publicity stunt” and urged Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to work instead to achieve a final peace deal.

Lieberman has been an outspoken skeptic of current peace efforts,saying conditions are not ripe for an agreement. Yet at the same time, Israel is widely seen as being responsible for the current impasse in talks with the Palestinians and is under heavy international pressure to help find a new way forward.

Under the emerging Lieberman plan, Israel would turn over between 45- to 50 percent of the West Bank to the provisional state, though additional land could be transferred to Palestinian control in the course of future negotiations, the official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the plan is not fully formed.

The Haaretz daily said Lieberman has presented a map to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But the prime minister’s office would not confirm the report.

Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev said the Israeli leader remains committed to a final accord resolving the decades-old dispute between the two sides. But in a recent interview, Netanyahu said he might seek a short-term deal if the negotiations deadlock continues.

Lieberman, leader of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, repeatedly has called for a long-term interim agreement between the sides.

The Palestinians claim the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem — areas captured and occupied by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war — for an independent state.

In recent months, they have tried to rally international recognition of a state in these territories. The Palestinians launched that initiative after concluding that talks with Israel were unlikely to yield a hoped-for state. Lieberman’s plan is an attempt to counter the Palestinian strategy.

Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a final accord collapsed in September after an Israeli freeze on settlement construction expired.

The Palestinians say they won’t return to the negotiating table unless Israel halts all construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. Settlements, they say, cement the Israeli presence in the West Bank and chip away at a future Paelstinian state.

Some 500,000 Jewish settlers have moved to the West Bank and east Jerusalem in the past 43 years. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the territory is now ruled by the Hamas militant group.

The Palestinian Authority was set up on the basis of an interim peace agreement in 1994. Nine years later, Palestinian leaders agreed to the concept of a provisional state when they endorsed the “road map” peace plan advanced by the U.S., European Union, Russia and the U.N. .

But with peacemaking languishing, the Palestinians have turned their backs on that approach, fearing provisional borders could become final frontiers.

“The option of provisional borders or an interim agreement is no longer on the table,” senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said. “I urge Lieberman not to fight the emergence of a Palestinian state, because it’s coming.”

The proposal is “a publication relations stunt, to throw the ball in our court,” Erekat added.  (*)

Photostream : Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visits Greece

Visiting Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman (L) talks with Greece's Orthodox Archbishop Ieronymos during their meeting in Athens, January 14, 2011. Lieberman is on a three-day visit in Athens. REUTERS/John Kolesidis

Greek President Karolos Papoulias, right, welcomes Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during their meeting at the Presidential Palace in Athens, Thursday, Jan. 13, 2011. The Greek and Israeli cabinets will hold a joint session this year as part of accelerated efforts to end decades of cool relations and boost trade, Lieberman said Wednesday. Israel's Foreign Minister is in Greece on a four-day official visit. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)

Greek Prime Minister Georges Papandreou (L) speaks with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman during their meeting in Athens on January 13, 2011. Lieberman is on a three-day visit to Greece for talks as Athens announced the two countries would set up a joint cooperation ministerial panel to boost ties. As reported by The Athens News, in statements after their meeting, Lieberman highlighted cooperation between the two sides in tourism but noted, in response to questions, that cooperation in natural gas would require "detailed study". He underlined the value of economic cooperation that he said would be the "challenge of the years to come" and that this should begin as soon as possible. Concerning Greece's role in the Middle East, Lieberman said that this would be successful "if Greece can contribute to strengthening Israel's ties with its neighbouring countries".Regarding the planned Greece-Israel ministerial council, the Israeli foreign minister said that this would probably hold its first meeting in three months, while Droutsas said that the first meeting would take place in Israel and deal with issues such as culture, tourism, agriculture, energy and high technology. (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman visits the Acropolis archaeological site in Athens on January 14, 2011. Lieberman is in Athens on a three-day official visit for talks with Greek top officials. (Photo by LOUISA GOULIAMAKI/AFP/Getty Images)


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