Abbas rejects US plan for permanent Israel troop presence 14Dec13 December 14, 2013

Ma’an News Agency    -    13 December 2013

177343_345x230RAMALLAH (AFP) — President Mahmoud Abbas has rejected US proposals for Israel to keep troops in a future Palestinian state along its border with Jordan, a Palestinian source said on Friday.

Following a meeting on Thursday evening with US Secretary of State John Kerry in the West Bank city of Ramallah, “President Abbas has rejected the ideas presented by the secretary of state”, the source said.

Abbas also gave Kerry a letter on “Palestinian red lines,” the source added, singling out “the refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.”

Abbas “rejected the ideas on security because there is not a third party.”

This refers to a plan by former US national security adviser James Jones under which a third party would deploy along the Palestinian-Jordanian border.

The Palestinian source said that “all disputed issues must be settled.”

Israeli and Arab media reports say the plan envisaged by Washington would see Israel maintain a military presence on the border after a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

An international force would be acceptable to the Palestinians, but Israel opposes such a solution.

Abbas’ comments were made public as Kerry met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem in his latest attempt at promoting an elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

In early December, Israel’s deputy defense minister ruled out any compromise on security in the Jordan Valley.

“From the Israeli point of view, there will not be any Palestinian presence at the crossing points,” said Danny Danon, who is a radical member of Netanyahu’s rightwing Likud party.

“An Israeli civilian and military presence in the Jordan Valley is essential.”

Over 94 percent of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea area is prohibited for Palestinian use, with the land either declared a closed military zone or reserved for illegal Israeli settlements.

The Jordan Valley forms over 30 percent of the occupied West Bank.

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