Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has proposed to US Secretary of State John Kerry that a state of Palestine would be demilitarised, protected only by a police force. Speaking to the New York Times, he also said that Israeli forces and settlements could remain in the West Bank for five years after a final agreement has been signed.
Abbas told the NYT last week that he agrees that a US-led NATO force could take responsibility for security in the West Bank and Jerusalem. "For a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders, but also on the western borders, everywhere," he said." How can Palestinians have any security if the Israelis do not feel secure?"
The NATO force would be responsible for preventing terrorism and weapons smuggling. At the same time, however, Abbas said that he refuses to recognise Israel as a Jewish state, noting that Egypt and Jordan were not required to do so after they signed peace treaties with the Zionist state.
The Palestinian Authority leader showed flexibility about extending the period of negotiations, saying that the proposed deadline of April 29 "is not a sacred date". If there is something promising by that time, he asked, should we just stop? "If there is nothing on the horizon at that time, though, we will stop."