U.S. Seeks to Map Out Israel's Security Requirements

(Jerusalem Post) White House adviser Dennis Ross and U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell's top aide David Hale arrived in Israel Thursday for discussions Jerusalem said were aimed at charting Israel's security needs under any future accord. The goal, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister's Office, was to preserve Israel's qualitative military edge after any future agreement. One of the main obstacles hindering a renewal of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations has been the Palestinian insistence to first talk about settlements and borders, and Israel countering that security should be discussed first, because no decisions on borders could be made without knowing precisely what security arrangements would be put into place. The U.S. efforts to map out precisely Israel's perception of its security requirements after the establishment of a Palestinian state is widely seen as a U.S. effort to bridge the gaps between the two sides' positions, with the U.S. talking with Israel about what Jerusalem wants to talk about first. Netanyahu has said in the past he would agree to a Palestinian state only if that state would be demilitarized, meaning - in part - that Israel needed to retain a security presence on the Jordan River to prevent the type of arms smuggling that takes place from Syria to Hizbullah in Lebanon, and from Egypt into Gaza.

2011-01-21 08:22:15

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