Report: Israel, U.S. discuss land lease

JERUSALEM, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- Israel and the United States are conducting secret talks on future borders of a Palestinian state, Ash-Sharq al-Awsat reported Friday.

"We are conducting intense negotiations with the U.S. administration in an effort to resume direct talks with the Palestinians," Ophir Gendelman, head of Israel's Foreign Ministry Arabic media department, told the Arabic daily.


The two sides are discussing the option that Israel will lease land in East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley from the future Palestinian state for 40 to 99 years, the report said.

The report was confirmed by Palestinian sources, who said the idea was an American initiative aimed at obtaining an understanding with Israel over the future Palestinian state, Haaretz said.

The sources said the talks are being conducted in secret in an effort to save the peace process.

The Israeli daily said U.S. and Israeli government officials declined to comment on the report.

An Egyptian source told Ash-Sharq al-Awsat the Palestinian Authority was informed only recently of the substance of the talks.

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