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Israels Gaza pullout must lead to return to 1967 borders

Islamic Center of Jersey City

BEIRUT (AFP) - An Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip must lead to a return to the frontiers of 1967 and the establishment of a Palestinian state, UN coordinator for the Middle East Terje Roed-Larsen said in remarks published on Tuesday in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar.

“An Israeli pullout from Gaza must be total, so that it is possible to declare the end of occupation of this strip, whether it be through an Israeli-Palestinian agreement if such a retreat is verified, or through a UN Security Council resolution attesting this,” he said.

Even if the two parties disagreed, “the Security Council can confirm such a withdrawal in a resolution, similar to that which occurred in Lebanon” after the Israeli pullout from south Lebanon in May 2000, he added.

According to the UN envoy, the evacuation of Gaza “must not be separated from steps aiming at the Israeli pullout from the West Bank, of the sort that the result leads to the return to the 1967 frontiers and the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state.”

Israel seized the Gaza Strip and the Sinai from Egyptian control, the West Bank from Jordan and the Golan Heights from Syria in its 1967 war with its Arab neighbors. Only the Sinai has been returned.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is working on a revised version of his plan to evacuate all Jewish settlements from the Gaza Strip and four in the West Bank while keeping others there. His unilateral plan, backed by US President George W. Bush, was rejected in a recent referendum of his Likud party members.

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