Abbas: Israel must withdraw from border in three years
Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that an Israeli withdrawal from Palestinian territory "should take place within a three-year period," according to Agence France Presse.
Abbas' comments came as part of a screened interview at the annual conference of Tel Aviv's Institute for National Security Studies (INSS).
"Those who are proposing 10 to 15 years (before a withdrawal) do not want to withdraw at all. We say that in a reasonable time frame, no longer than three years, Israel can withdraw gradually," Abbas stated.
"We have no problem with there being a third party present after or during the withdrawal, to reassure Israel and to reassure us that the process will be completed, [and] we think NATO is the appropriate party to undertake this mission. The Palestinian borders must, in the end, be held (controlled) by Palestinians and not by the Israeli army," he added.
Israel has previously stated that it wants to maintain its military presence in the Jordan Valley where the West Bank borders Jordan in the long-term, but Palestinians have called on Abbas to push Israeli troops to eventually withdraw their troops to make way for an international force.
During his interview, he also re-emphasized that Palestine demands a two-state solution "based on the lines which existed before the Israeli occupation of 1967."
Abbas' remarks precede April's upcoming deadline for the ongoing US-backed Israel-Palestine peace negotiations, but tension and deadlock has largely overshadowed the process within recent months. However, Abbas also expressed hope during the interview that there would be progress ahead of April's deadline.
"I hope we succeed so we don't have to resort to legal or diplomatic or political confrontation on the world stage. I hope the Israeli people can understand what it is to be in an ocean of peace, from Mauritania to Indonesia, rather than in an island of peace as it is at the moment," said Abbas.
Abbas' comments also included his interest to "happily meet" with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in person.
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