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Abbas Says He Supports an International Force for Palestinian Territories

VOA, July 1, 2010

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says he has sent Israel a proposal for the deployment of international forces in the Palestinian territories as part of an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

In a rare interview with Israeli journalists Wednesday, Mr. Abbas said he would accept NATO or U.N. forces in a future Palestinian state to ensure security in the region. He said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had received the proposal through American mediators.

Mr. Abbas invited the journalists to his Ramallah office in an apparent effort to reach out to the Israeli public.  He said he also sent Israel a proposal on the borders of a Palestinian state that he says are based on agreements reached with Mr. Netanyahu's predecessor, Ehud Olmert.  Mr. Netanyahu has accepted the idea of a Palestinian state, but with limitations on its sovereignty.

Both sides have held several rounds of indirect peace talks in recent weeks with U.S. Mideast envoy George Mitchell shuttling between them.  Israel has said the talks must transition soon into direct negotiations in order for them to progress.

In his interview, Mr. Abbas said the borders of a state in the West Bank and Gaza with a capital in East Jerusalem should be based on Israel's pre-1967 boundary with the West Bank and Gaza.  He said he would accept alterations to those borders, however, if Israel exchanges territory on a one-to-one scale.

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