Palestinian leaders today doubled down on weekend declarations in which they categorically rejected U.S. bridging proposals designed to balance Israeli security needs – including Jerusalem’s concerns about a security vacuum that might emerge in the strategically important Jordan Valley in the context of a comprehensive peace deal – with Palestinian demands for autonomy over the West Bank. Yasser Abed Rabbo, a senior Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) official, told Agence France-Presse that security arrangements suggested by Secretary of State John Kerry would lead to the “total failure” of the U.S.-backed peace talks.
Yasser Abed Rabbo, a top official with the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), said Kerry’s ideas on the future configuration of security arrangements which were presented to the Palestinian leadership last week, had provoked a “real crisis”. “These ideas will drive Kerry’s efforts to an impasse and to total failure because he is treating our issues with a high degree of indifference,” he told AFP.
Jordanian officials, in contrast, have reportedly sided with the U.S. and Israel in endorsing Jerusalem’s continued presence along the border. Veteran Israeli military correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai had last week outlined at length the basis for Israel’s insistence that it be allowed to maintain a security presence in the Jordan Valley.
Only thanks to the Israeli control over the border crossing, it has been possible to prevent a massive spillover of al-Qaeda activists and explosive devices into Judea and Samaria and from there into the State of Israel…A second fundamental issue, perhaps even more important than the supervision along the Jordan Valley, is thwarting terror in Judea and Samaria by collecting intelligence and conducting arrests. The Israeli claim is that only thanks to the operational and intelligence freedom of action that the IDF and Shin Bet have on all territories, including those under full Palestinian control, it has been possible to foil more than 80% of terror organizations or individual acts of terror which are threatening not only Jews but also the survival of the Palestinian Authority.
[Photo: Dale Gillard / Flickr ]