RAMALLAH Feb 24 (JMCC) - A plan for ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict initiated by the French president includes an European Union force on the ground, compensation for both Israeli settlers and the Palestinian refugees, and a possible land exchange, reports Lebanon's al-Akhbar
.Speaking last Monday
alongside Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, French leader Nicolas Sarkozy referred numerous times to the idea of a land swap between Palestinians and Israelis in a final agreement on borders. Palestinians have accepted the idea in negotiations that some land in Israel could be exchanged for major Israeli settlements within the occupied West Bank. Differences persist, however, over the extent of a possible swap.
According to al-Akhba
r, the Arab League will be asked to give its blessing to a land swap, opening the doors to an agreement over that borders of a future Palestinian state.
Other features of the Sarkozy initiative resemble US ideas leaked in the press. Palestinians and Israelis will be enticed back to talks by US and EU guarantees. Israel will receive a letter of assurance that future negotiations will affirm the Jewishness of Israel. Palestinians, on the other hand, will receive assurances that eastern Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state, in the context of an international arrangement.
EU troops will provide security, ostensibly removing the need for Israel to carry out incursions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Finally, an international fund will compensate both Israeli settlers who leave their homes, and Palestinian refugees. Gulf countries will be the major donors to this fund.