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Peres offers possible solution on settlements

Peres said Israel could accommodate growth needs inside existing settlements  

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Addressing the contentious issue of Jewish settlements, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres Thursday offered what could be a compromise on a matter that has bitterly divided Israelis and Palestinians.

Speaking on Israeli television, Peres said Israel could accommodate its growth needs inside existing settlements without expropriating Palestinian land.

With some reservations, the Israeli government has endorsed the report drawn up by an international committee headed by former United States Senator George Mitchell.

That report concluded that Jewish settlements in occupied territories are a cause of conflict .

CNN's Sheila MacVicar has more on the continuing violence in the Mideast (May 16)

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Israel did not agree with that finding in the report, nor did it accept the conclusion that Israel's response to Palestinian attacks has been excessive and disproportionate.

The Palestinians have accepted the report in full and have called for renewed negotiations on the basis of the Mitchell findings.

The Mitchell report looks at the causes of the violence and suggests steps both sides could take to clear the way for renewed peace negotiations.



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