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Israeli official says Netanyahu thinks settlers should have choice to stay in future Palestine

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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2014. (AP Photos/Ronen Zvulun, Pool)The Associated Press

An official in the prime minister's office says Benjamin Netanyahu believes Jewish settlers should have the option of staying in a future Palestinian state.

Sunday's comment expounded on Netanyahu's words over the weekend in Davos, where he told the World Economic Forum that he did not intend to uproot any Israelis in a peace deal.

Israel and the Palestinians are in the midst of peace talks. More than 500,000 settlers live in areas the Palestinians hope will be part of their state. The working assumption is that most will be annexed into blocs that will remain in Israel, with the remainder evacuated.

But the official, who spoke anonymously because it was not yet Israeli policy, says Netanyahu believes there is no reason why a Palestinian state should "be ethnically cleansed."