Israel says no to international forces

June 5, 2013 at 7:23 AM
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JERUSALEM, June 5 (UPI) -- Israel will oppose deployment of international forces in any Palestinian peace deal, Minister of International and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz said.

"Some people are speaking about international forces, maybe [in] the Jordan Valley or hills and border areas, that will take care of Israel's future security," The Jerusalem Post quoted Steinitz as saying Tuesday at The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

"The principle should be very clear. The Palestinians should be able to control their lives, and we should be able to control our security in our own hands. For us, security means survivability, and we have had very negative experiences with international forces so far," he said.

To back up his statements, Steinitz cited two examples: the large contingency of U.N. Interim Forces in Lebanon deployed in southern Lebanon after the 2006 Second Lebanon War and under whose watch thousands of missiles reached Hezbollah's hands. The second, he said, relates to security personnel deployed by the Palestinians, Egypt and the European Union after the Israeli disengagement in Gaza in 2005, who failed to prevent the Hamas takeover and the build-up of weapons.

Steinitz said Israel is willing to make painful concession for peace and make serious compromises.

"A two-states-for-two-peoples solution, but we want genuine peace, real peace, and real security that we can trust," he said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday he is ready to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible, the Ma'an news agency said.

"We are determined to return to the negotiating table as soon as possible to reach a solution for all the unresolved issues between us and Israel and to achieve peace on the basis of a two-state solution," Abbas said in Ramallah.

"I have stressed more than once that the Arabic and Islamic world would recognize Israel if it withdraws from the occupied lands, and a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital was established."

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