Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Tuesday refuted a report in a US news magazine quoting an aide as saying he would be willing to give up 90 percent of the West Bank and part of Jerusalem for a Palestinian state.
The report was carried in the Newsweek magazine, according to Israel Radio and TV. The report quoted an aide who advises Sharon on polling.
In a statement from his office, Sharon said if the aide made the statement, he was speaking only for himself. Sharon repeated his stand that united Jerusalem must remain Israel's capital, and the internationally backed "road map" peace plan is his only policy.
In the statement, Sharon said that the quote cited in the magazine is "diametrically opposed" to his policy. Israel TV also carried a denial from the aide, who said he was only raising alternatives, not outlining Sharon's policies.
With Israel heading toward general elections on March 28 and Sharon heading a new centrist party, politicians on the right and left were quick to comment on the Newsweek article, setting off a small political storm.