Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for security arrangements to facilitate a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians has found both sides unreceptive, according to The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
A U.S. plan drawn up a team headed by retired General John Allen and presented by Kerry called for an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley for ten years, during which time, Palestinian Authority security forces would be trained to assume control of the area, a Palestinian official told Al-Ayyam.
Both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have reportedly rejected the proposal.
In a closed-door meeting of the Likud, Netanyahu said it was important to maintain Israeli, not American, forces on the border with Jordan.
“We need to be there in the Jordan Valley,” a minister close to Netanyahu said. “Jihadist elements are there and we cannot have that on our border. When we left Abbas in charge of Gaza, we saw how long he lasted.”
The minister dismissed the American proposal for relying on hi-tech security arrangements, such as satellite surveillance.
“Technology is not enough to fight terror,” he said. “It can’t be stopped just with sensors and fences.”
According to a PA official, Abbas shot down the plan.
The official described the meeting on security issues between Kerry and Abbas last week as being “worse than bad,” and that the American position is actually a step back from proposals made in the past.
PLO secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo scorned the plan, telling Voice of Palestine radio that Kerry was trying to “appease Israel by fulfilling its expansionist demands in the Jordan Valley under the pretext of security.”
He said the Palestinians “will never accept Israeli presence in the valley.”
Speculation that significant progress might at last be at hand, has been fueled by Kerry’s own comment about being “closer than ever” to an agreement, and the quickening pace of meetings, with Kerry’s scheduled return to the region on Wednesday for another round of shuttle diplomacy.
But reactions to his security plan would appear to quell any optimism about an emerging agreement.