Abbas: No to Israeli Presence in the Jordan Valley
In his latest attack of Israel, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned on Tuesday that Israel would be to blame if ongoing peace talks collapsed over its demand to keep military forces in the Jordan Valley.
"We will not accept it, and if they (the talks) collapse, they (Israelis) will be the reason for the collapse, not us," Abbas was quoted by AFP as having told the Baltic News Service during a visit to Lithuania.
The Israeli daily newspaper Maariv reported last week that the renewed negotiations almost collapsed in September due to conflicting positions on future borders.
Israel has long stated that it seeks to retain a long-term military presence along the Jordan Valley in order to ensure its continued security. The PA, on the other hand, flatly objects to any Israeli military on land that could become the eastern front of a future Palestinian state.
"They don't have the right to stay in our territories after we signed a peace treaty," Abbas said Tuesday, while stressing that he accepts a future demilitarized Palestinian state.
"We want, according to the Oslo Agreement, a strong police force. This is exactly what we want, how we understand, how they understand, how the Americans understand it," he added, according to AFP.
Over the years, PA security forces have proven they cannot be trusted and have been behind numerous murderous terror attacks, thus making the presence of Israeli security forces along the Jordan Valley a necessity.
Just recently, the PA's Ambassador to Libya, Mutawakkil Taha, boasted that most terrorist attacks during the early days of the Second Intifada, also known as the Oslo War, were carried out by members of the PA's own security forces.
Abbas previously said that he would accept an international presence like in the Sinai and in Lebanon as part of a future Palestinian state - so long as “Palestine” is free of Jews, civilians or soldiers.
In the interview Tuesday, Abbas also hailed the European Union's demand on Monday that Israel stop building Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
The president of Lithuania, the rotating president of the European Union, on Monday called on Israel "to end the expansion of settlements in the occupied territories.” She then insisted that that "the European Union does not recognize settlements as part of Israel."