Report: Abbas wants NATO to replace the IDF

May 29, 2016  

Russian news outlet RT reported that Palestinian Authority (PA) chief Mahmoud Abbas wants NATO to replace IDF forces in Judea and Samaria as part of any long term peace deal with Israel.

Meanwhile, the Arab League has welcomed a French initiative for peace talks between Israel and the PA.

Abbas addressed a meeting of foreign ministers held under the aegis of the Arab League in Cairo on Saturday. RT did not provide a quote from Abbas regarding the idea of involving NATO, but Abbas has made similar proposals in the past.

Abbas also reportedly said, “Now we talk about the French initiative… Its purpose must be to implement the visions of both states, based on the border agreement of 1967 and the capital of the Palestinian state being eastern Jerusalem, so that both countries can live side by side, in safety, stability and peace – if Israel wishes to seek peace.”

The PA head insisted that eastern Jerusalem would be the capital of the future “Palestine” and rejected the demand that he recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

“We have previously recognized the state of Israel but we will not accept or recognize the terms of a Jewish state. We demand a Palestinian state on Palestinian lands and we will not allow any Israeli presence inside Palestinian territory,” he said.

“When we need to demarcate these borders, we will be prepared to accept a slight exchange of territory,” he told the Arab ministers.

The meeting took place in advance of a ministerial meeting in Paris next week that will launch the new French-led initiative, which seeks to restart the talks that failed in April 2014 when they were led by the US. Representatives of some 20 countries, including the US, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and Jordan – but not Israel or the PA – will attend the meeting.

However, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has rejected the French initiative, and said the “best way to resolve the conflict between Israel and Palestinians is through direct, bilateral negotiations.”

Five-year transition

In 2014, Abbas said that he would agree to let Israeli troops remain in a future Palestinian state for a transitional period of five years to work with Palestinian and Jordanian security forces and reassure the Israeli public that it is not about to get hit with rockets. He rejected an idea by US Secretary of State John Kerry to have Israeli forces remain for 10 to 15 years.

After the five-year transitional period, he told The New York Times, the Israeli forces could be replaced indefinitely by an American-led NATO force, with troops throughout the territory, at every crossing and within Arab eastern Jerusalem, along with Palestinian Arab police and security units.

The NATO forces could stay “for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders but also on the western borders, everywhere … For a long time, for the time they wish. NATO can be everywhere, why not?” said Abbas.

Such a force, he said, “can stay to reassure the Israelis, and to protect us. We will be demilitarized. … Do you think we have any illusion that we can have any security if the Israelis do not feel they have security?”

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