Rice: US army presence in Iraq protects Israel

Former US sec. of state tells Palestinians: Even if Israel trusts you, you're still incapable of providing security, in leaked documents.

Livni Abu Ala 311 (photo credit: Itzki Edri)
Livni Abu Ala 311
(photo credit: Itzki Edri)
Former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice reassured Israel that the US military presence in Iraq should calm any Israeli security concerns "from the east," minutes from a 2008 trilateral meeting between Rice and the Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams reveal.
Discussing the needs of Israel regarding Palestinian security forces in a future-Palestinian state, former foreign minister Tzipi Livni expressed concern over a third-party military force protecting a Palestinian state's external borders. Secretary Rice inserted, "At this time there is no threat from the east because our forces are in Iraq and will stay there for a long time." Chief Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat added, "For a very, very long time."
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The minutes of the meeting were revealed in leaked documents published by Al Jazeera and The Guardian in a WikiLeaks-esque series entitled "The Palestine Papers." Both newspapers said they verified the authenticity of the documents but no government has yet done so.
Addressing Palestinian uneasiness with the limited military capabilities Israel was comfortable with a future-Palestinian state, Livni told the Palestinians that they do not need an external military force protecting them on their borders, saying that your only "external threat is Israel." "Not true," Erekat retorted.
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The back-and-forth continued, with the Palestinian delegation arguing that it must have control of its airspace and the capability to defend its borders, while Livni stressed: "We want to leave and not come back. I want to trust that terrorism will not come to us from your state."
Livni added that she does not "accept Palestinians who do not support Israel in what she is doing to confront our and their own common enemy, i.e. Hamas." In response, the Palestinian delegates complained that Israel excludes it from security matters. Rice inserted that "even if Israel has full trust in you, you are still incapable." Once again bringing Iraq into the discussion, Rice explained, "I have full trust in Nouri Malki, Iraq's prime minister, but he is incapable. Canada has sincere desire but there came a time when Canada was incapable of controlling the borders," (referring to US at controlling the its northern border.
At the end of the meeting, there was one position shared by the two sides; both parties were worried about media leaks. In fact, Rice was the only one present suggesting any type of press statement about progress in the talks. Former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei complained that then-Minister Ami Ayalon had made public comments about land swap proposals, but Livni too expressed concern about plugging leaks.