RealNews

Senior U.S. Officials Returning To Israel

Three senior U.S. officials plan to return to Jerusalem next week for more talks with the Israeli government on its plan to disengage from the Palestinians, signifying an intensive period for settling details of the plan, U.S. officials disclosed yesterday. U.S. and Israeli officials insist they are not negotiating over the plan, which involves Israel’s vacating possibly all of Gaza and some isolated settlements on the West Bank. But the talks have amounted to a form of shuttle consultancy, with almost weekly visits by each side to prepare the groundwork for an eventual White House visit by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. The group of senior Israeli officials, including Sharon’s chief of staff Dov Weisglass, spent five hours at the White House on Monday, including three hours with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and her deputy Stephen Hadley. The Israeli officials, who came carrying maps, also met for about an hour with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Assistant Secretary of State William Burns. Full Story

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