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Abbas asks for NATO to replace IDF in West Bank as part of peace deal

Abbas said the French initiative must be based on the de facto border between Israel and the Palestinian territories established in 1967.

May 28, 2016 20:24
2 minute read.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signs the Paris Agreement on climate change

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signs the Paris Agreement on climate change at UN headquarters in New York. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday called for NATO forces to replace the IDF in the West Bank as part of as part of any peace deal that leads to the creation of a two-state solution.

Speaking in Cairo before the Arab League, he also rejected the idea of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state.

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Recognition of Israel as the Jewish homeland as well as acceptance of a demilitarized Palestinian state with the IDF maintaining a military presence in the West Bank have been two of the cornerstone Israeli demands for any resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas spoke in advance of a June 3 ministerial meeting in Paris that will launch a new French-led peace initiative that would set the parameters for renewed negotiating process.

Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians have been invited to the Paris meeting. Israel has opposed the initiative, which it believes dictates the results of the negotiations, though the Palestinians have welcomed it since it aims to set a blue-print for such talks.

Abbas said negotiations should be based on the understanding of a two-station solution based on the pre-1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital.

“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.”

There could be, he clarified, some minor land swaps of equitable value, adding that a timeline would be set for an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

There also should be a fair and agreed-upon solution for Palestinian refugees based on the 1948 United Nations resolution 194, he said.

“We also take under consideration, an issue that came in this initiative that’s very important, related to Palestinian refugees – there’s a crystal clear article stipulating a fair and agreed upon resolution, I repeat fair and agreed upon, for the problem of Palestinian refugees, in accordance with Resolution 194.”

Last week, Netanyahu urged the French to amend their initiative and use Paris as a platform for the immediate renewal of talks without preconditions, calling on them to host him and Abbas, rather than to hold a ministerial meeting. The Palestinians have rejected that idea believing that talks without a framework of borders and timetable are meaningless.

Separately, the website Middle East Eye reported that there was a secret plan in the world to replaced Abbas with his archival Muhammad Dahlan.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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