The US understands that mutual agreed land swaps will have something to do with recognizing changes on the ground that have happened since 1967, but those issues have to be negotiated between the parties, US ambassador Dan Shapiro told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday.

Shapiro, speaking after addressing the Post's first annual Diplomatic Conference in Herzliya, was referring to Israel's announcement of further planning in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim and whether that was not part of the settlement blocks that US President George Bush implied in his 2004 letter to former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon would remain a part of Israel in any agreement.

"Those issues have to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians," he said. "Nobody else from the outside can draw that map, and that is why we need to get those negotiations going, so those issues will be decided at the negotiating table between the parties, and not by unilateral measures."

Shapiro said that in wake of the recent Gaza crisis, and as Israel gears up for its elections on January 22, he was not aware of any move by the Palestinians to return to negotiations now.

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