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Tuesday July 20, 2010 6:39 AM (EST+7)
Report: Abbas seeks international troops in exchange for move to direct talks

Read more: international troops, Mahmoud Abbas, direct talks, indirect talks, NATO, United Nations, military

RAMALLAH, July 20 (JMCC) - Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly asked for international troops to man the borders of the occupied Palestinian territories in exchange for agreeing to engage in direct talks with Israel.

The [Jordanian] newspaper Al-Ghad quoted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as saying that he will enter direct peace talks with Israel if the Israelis accept in principle the deployment of foreign troops around the borders of what are presently referred to by the international community as the occupied territories.

Some journalists are suggesting this idea was already discussed and agreed during talks between Abbas and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, before the negotiations ended in December 2008.

Xinua went on to discuss the possibility that NATO troops would be asked to step in.

Israel would not be able to accept a United Nations deployment akin to UN Interim Force in Lebanon, according to Shlomo Brom, director of the Program on Israel-Palestinian Relations at The Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv University.

The UN is a political body and we know how it works and who has power there. We know about the problems Israel has with this political body, Brom said.

Speaking to Xinhua on Monday he proposed two alternatives that he said could prove satisfactory to Israel.

The first is the model of the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) responsible for peacekeeping in the Sinai Peninsula, which was established in the wake of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. The reason this model works, he said, is that, as the MFO puts it, the parties negotiated a protocol in 1981 establishing the MFO 'as an alternative' to the envisioned UN force.

The MFO's work includes operation of checkpoints, reconnaissance patrols and observation posts. The Rome-based organization was established specifically for this purpose.

Brom's other suggestion for a workable solution fits glove in hand with that of Abbas.

That's where a credible, international organization that can do it agrees to take on the mission. Today there's only one that can do so and that is NATO, he said.

Here the UN can play a role, with its Security Council mandating NATO to perform the task, giving the mission broad international legitimacy, he added.

Read the story at Xinua...







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