Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israel would want to keep its troops on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state, telling American Jewish leaders that an international force alone could not ensure Israel's security.
Palestinians reject the idea and have proposed deploying international force along the border between the West Bank and Jordan, as part of a peace settlement.
Netanyahu told U.S. Jewish leaders in a conference call on Monday that the only force that can be relied on to defend the Jewish people is the Israel Defense Forces.
“I don’t believe that under these circumstances international troops will do the job,” Netanyahu said, according to the transcript posted on his office’s Web site. “We live in a very tough neighborhood and the peace will be tested constantly."
Netanyahu fears Palestinian militants will attack Israel from within a Palestinian state if IDF troops are withdrawn from the West Bank-Jordan border.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas maintains that an Israeli troop presence would infringe upon Palestinian sovereignty.
The Palestinian Authority and Israel are currently engaging in direct negotiations, after nearly two years of stalled face-to-face talks.
While both have agreed that the establishment of a Palestinian state is a main goal of the talks, they are at odds over Israel decision not to extend its temporary construction freeze in West Bank settlements after it expires next week.
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