Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dispatched a senior adviser to the United States Wednesday for new talks on Israel's overdue West Bank withdrawal.
Yitzhak Molcho headed to Washington in advance of a return visit to the Middle East by U.S. special envoy Dennis Ross. Ross is expected to arrive following Passover week, which begins Friday night."Molcho is taking with him progress reports," Netanyahu adviser Uzi Arad said on Israel's army radio. "The process is moving forward, and more progress is expected."
Arad said Molcho would also ask the Americans for "clarifications" on a number of points.
The United States is pressing Netanyahu to withdraw from 12 per-cent to 15 percent of the West Bank in the next pullback phase, but Netanyahu has said he cannot yield more than about 9 percent.
The Palestinians have said they expect far more than 15 percent in the next withdrawal, but privately have signaled they would accept the American plan.
Israeli news reports said Netanyahu's government was considering a plan under which Israel would turn over 9 percent of the West Bank to full Palestinian control; 3 percent more would be turned over to Palestinian civil control, with Israeli troops providing security.
The Palestinians currently have full or partial control over 27 percent of the West Bank and most of the Gaza Strip.