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Israel rejects US proposals on Jordan Valley
Published Sunday 05/01/2014 (updated) 06/01/2014 11:42
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US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Palestinian negotiator Saeb
Erekat leave after a meeting with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas
at the presidential compound Jan. 4, 2014, in Ramallah
(AFP/Brendan Smialowski)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel rejects any US-proposed security concessions for the Jordan Valley, a cabinet member close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, as US Secretary John Kerry visited the Middle East.

"Security must remain in our hands. Anyone who proposes a solution in the Jordan Valley by deploying an international force, Palestinian police or technological means ... does not understand the Middle East," Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli public radio.

Steinitz's comments came after three days of intense shuttle diplomacy by Kerry, who was trying to push a framework for final status talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

With a late April deadline looming for the negotiations that he kick-started in July after a three-year hiatus, Kerry has pledged to work even more intensively in the coming months.

US officials have refused to release any details of the proposed framework, and Kerry acknowledged it would not be agreed during this trip.

Palestinian hopes of having an international force brought in to help patrol the Jordan Valley under a peace deal had been sidelined, a Palestinian source told AFP Saturday.

Instead the US was proposing a mixed Israeli-Palestinian military presence to ensure security in the area, without setting a deadline when the Israeli troops would be withdrawn.

But Israel insists on maintaining a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley.

Kerry has said a peace treaty will deal with all the core issues dividing the two sides. These include the contours of a future Palestinian state, refugees, the fate of Jerusalem claimed by both as a capital, security, and mutual recognition.

Direct negotiations began in July between Israel and the Palestinians in a US-led attempt to restart the deadlocked peace process.

Israel has announced plans to build thousands of homes in illegal settlements across the West Bank over the course of the talks, inhibiting US efforts.

The Palestinian negotiating team resigned in protest against continued Israeli settlement construction in mid-November, dealing a major blow to negotiations between Israel and the PLO that had already been stalled.

Negotiator Mohammed Shtayyeh told AFP at the time that they resigned in response to "increasing settlement building (by Israel) and the absence of any hope of achieving results," following Netanyahu's announcement that Israel would build 20,000 new settlement homes in the West Bank.

The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) shirley / australai
05/01/2014 10:05
give us abreak this proposal was not US it was pa and abass idea stop covering for US well known US plan to annex jordan valley including generals report that isreals security hinged on jordan valleyand malaki saying it didnt matter isreal bill to annex it the Us can not deny abass and his proposal but the US does not in reality back it why does US stop pa going to UN to jouin more bodies no harm to 2 state agreement because US wants to stop pals voice in UNn and US threatened pa with joining mo

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/01/2014 11:09
Israel must be gnashing her teeth. I suspect that enjoy in Prague was killed in an attempt to make the Palestinians break off negotiations before this happened. Now Israel 'caused the negotiations to fail.'

3 ) jorge / argentina
05/01/2014 16:01
The palestinian reject to recognize israel as a jewish state, whose meanning is nothing but a declarative one, is the tool that Abbas uses to eliminate any chance of succesfull in the negotiations.

4 ) Tibi / Tubas
05/01/2014 18:11
-1- The International Community can force neither to compromise or accept the terms of the other, and -2- Neither will voluntarily compromise enough, so that the other can accept their peace terms ever, so -3- The Issue of a Palestinian state will remain stuck in the present-day lack-of-"authority" limbo forever, and -4- Israel can and will build and demolish, at will, on disputed lands !!!!

5 ) Mel / USA
05/01/2014 21:53
What Bibi means(& Kerry submits to)is that if US/NATO were to deploy military observers in/around Israeli-occupied territories,Israel would have END it's ILLEGAL occupation STAT! Or USG & other foreign members would be BLATANTLY/DIRECTLY in contravention of INTERNATIONAL LAWS&Geneva Cons,universal human rights laws,by displaying BIAS towards Israel & its war crimes.Israel wouldn't be able to pretend that its the victim with NATO/Western eyes right there,amidst walls & US-funded occupation.

6 ) Paddi McGinty / Isle of Sheppey
05/01/2014 22:14
@2) Colin: You're wright, I'm sure there must be a lot of wailing & gnashing of teeth in Isreal right now, Bit of an 'own goal' really, especially with all that publicity about the death of the Palestinian envey & no result to show for it now. Unless of course you count Isreal destroying the negotiations itself. Bet Mr Kerry's not amused!

7 ) Colin Wright / USA
05/01/2014 22:42
To Tibi #4: '-1- The International Community can force neither to compromise or accept the terms of the other...' You're wrong there. The US can dictate any terms it pleases, and just turn off the tap until Israel accepts them.
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