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Olmert plans more West Bank pullouts

  |   March 5, 2006 at 10:08 PM
JERUSALEM, March 5 (UPI) -- Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will reportedly seek to evacuate more West Bank settlements if his party wins this month's national election.

Avi Dichter, a top Olmert ally and a parliamentary candidate in Kadima, said Olmert will seek to define Israel's permanent borders, the New York Times reported.

"In the absence of a Palestinian partner, Israel will have to determine by itself its own permanent border," Dichter said on Israeli radio.

He said planning for a West Bank pullout could begin soon after the March 28 national election in which Kadima is heavily favored. He estimated that four years would be needed for Israel to set its boundaries unilaterally.

Roughly 250,000 Jewish settlers live in the West Bank, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. The figure does not include some 200,000 Israelis who live in East Jerusalem, which Israel annexed after the war.

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