PA: Israel endangers talks

Report: PA mulls NATO presence to defend a future state from Israel.

AbbasMitchellTalksMay19-311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Senior Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat blames Israel for jeopardizing the indirect talks with the Palestinians, saying it "Continues to create provocations and facts on the ground, in expanding settlements and making arrests within PA areas. "
Erekat emerged Wednesday from the latest meeting with US Envoy George Mitchell.
According to Israel Radio, the discussion achieved little progress, mainly dealing with PA complaints against Israeli actions, with the Palestinians hoping that the US can rein in Israel.
The PA is considering allowing the permanent stationing of NATO forces in the future Palestinian state, London-based pan-Arab daily Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Palestinian sources saying Wednesday.
The NATO forces would be able to prevent arms smuggling into the future state and to monitor that it would remain demilitarized.
Under any peace agreement likely to be formulated between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Israel would expect the Palestinian entity to remain demilitarized.
The Palestinian Authority will also ask NATO and the US to commit to “defending the Palestinian state from Israel," were relations to break down and were Israel to threaten the future Palestinian state with invasion, the report said.
US envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday afternoon. According to the report, Abbas would be making this offer and request in the meeting.
According to the sources, Abbas will stress “the Palestinian Authority’s commitment to combating violence, incitement and to the war against terrorism,” as well as its continued cooperation with Israel and the US on security issues.
The report said the Palestinian Authority was willing to consider 1:1 land-swaps based on the 1967 borders on up to 4% of the territory beyond the green line, despite their official position, based on negotiations with the Olmert government of no more than 2% territorial exchanges. The Palestinian Authority takes into account that the territory needed to create the ‘safe passage’ between Gaza and the West Bank, would be part of the 4% land swap.
Meanwhile, PLO general-secretary Yasser Abed Rabbo said on Wednesday that Israel was not interested in negotiations and would do everything to derail them as soon as possible, Israel Radio reported.