Israel hardline coalition rejects Abbas pullout proposal

Israel hardline coalition rejects Abbas pullout proposal
Mon Feb 3, 2014 17:09:21

An Israeli coalition party rejected Monday a proposal by Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas that envisions Israel's withdrawal of troops and settlers from the West Bank over a five-year period and US-led forces patrolling the future Palestinian state.

Housing Minister Uri Ariel, of the hardline Jewish Home party, dismissed the security arrangement as "unimplementable" and "unacceptable."

The subject of Jewish settlers nearly sparked a coalition break-up last month, when Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett was forced to apologize to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for publicly criticizing him on the issue.

The housing minister's refusal to consider Abbas' security scheme comes as Israeli-Palestinian peace talks launched in July enter crunch time.

The two sides set a nine-month deadline, expiring in April, to hash out the core issues of the conflict, including security and borders.

No fruitful results have been gained till now as the Zionist regime is not ready to come back to previous border lines.

In an extensive interview with the New York Times, Abbas said that Israeli forces and settlers can stay in the future Palestinian state for five years. He also proposed that an American-led NATO force patrol a future Palestinian state indefinitely.

The interview underscored the significant gaps remaining between the two sides.

The Zionist regime has insisted on a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley, along the eastern West Bank, for its own alleged security reasons.

Additionally, sources close to Netanyahu have suggested that a minority of Jewish settlers remain indefinitely in the future Palestinian state, and he insists that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

On the issue of recognition, Abbas said it was "out of the question" and noted that Jordan and Egypt were not asked to do so when they signed peace treaties with the Zionist regime.

The proposed NATO force could stay "for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders, but also on the western borders, everywhere," Abbas told the Times.

"They can stay to reassure the Israelis, and to protect us," he added.

Netanyahu's office would not comment on Abbas statements.


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