Abbas: Jewish NATO Soldiers Could Defend Future Palestinian State

Aide denies reports that Palestinian president opposes any Jewish presence in an international force to protect new borders under emerging peace proposals.

Mahmoud Abbas is not opposed to including Jewish soldiers in an international NATO force to be deployed along the borders of a future Palestinian state under a potential permanent peace agreement, the Palestinian president's political adviser said Saturday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Nimar Hamad told the Palestinian news agency Wafa that "Abbas is open to an international force along Palestinian borders of any religion or origin."

Hamad was responding to earlier reports that Abbas opposed the deployment of Jewish soldiers along the future borders.

Hamad told Wafa that the American media had quoted Abbas as having said that he would refuse to allow Jewish soldiers on the border between Israel and the Palestinian state. "The remarks attributed to the president are baseless," Hamad said. "The president said in his meetings with AIPAC and with Israeli journalists and world leaders that he welcomes the deployment of an international force regardless of the troops' religion."

Hamad added that Abbas refuses outright to have Israeli soldiers deployed along the borders, regardless of their religion, as "it is common knowledge that there are many non-Jewish soldiers serving in the Israeli army."