Netanyahu suggests land exchange, Israeli media reports


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel could take control of West Bank settlements in exchange for Arab Israeli communities moving under Palestinian control, Israeli media said Friday.

Under the proposal for a solution to the Palestine-Israel question, Netanyahu reportedly told U.S. officials that the Wadi Ara region of Israel could be taken over by the Palestinian government.

The suggestion came during a meeting a few weeks ago with U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner and Ambassador Jason Greenblatt, the Haaretz newspaper quoted unnamed officials as saying.

"The issue didn't come up as a separate proposal but as part of a proposal for a comprehensive arrangement with the Palestinians," one official told the newspaper.

A senior White House official said the idea was one of several raised "but not in a serious or significant way."

The story was first reported Thursday by Israeli broadcaster Channel 2 News.

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, who heads the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, suggested the same plan several years ago but it was rejected by the Palestinian Authority and Arab leaders.

The U.S. is seeking the resumption of Palestinian-Israeli negotiations that stalled in early 2014.

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