Gaza : Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon said Friday his nation should withdraw from most of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) while keeping major settlements.
According to Israeli radio, Ramon suggested enlisting the assistance of international forces, such as NATO, to uphold security in the West Bank.
That area has at least seven Israeli settlements that Palestinians considered a hindrance establishing their own independent state.
Ramon urged resuming talks with Palestinians about crucial permanent issues, such as refugees, water, borders, Jerusalem and settlements.
He referred to Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas as a partner representing Palestinians.
Ongoing occupation constitutes a threat to Israel's existence and its international presence, said Ramon.
On Thursday, Abbas said the US was determined to push all sides to reach political settlement during the term of President George W. Bush.
Speaking to Israel's Maariv newspaper, Abbas said he was optimistic and the latest meeting with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert involved discussion of all matters, including political outlook.