Hamas: "We will not allow international forces in a future Palestinian state"
The Palestinian Hamas movement published a statement Saturday denouncing the idea of having international troops stationed in a future Palestinian state as part of the proposed peace deal with Israel, according to Agence France Presse.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri's statement read, "From time to time we hear people making offers during the negotiations, primarily about the idea of an international force following the retreat of the (Israeli) occupier. We in Hamas, we will not allow the presence of an international force (in a future Palestinian state) which would be just like the Israeli occupation."
The question of security and troop deployment, particularly in the Jordan Valley border area, has been a major issue of concern and "contention" between the Israeli and Palestinian negotiation teams during the ongoing peace talks. Israel has insisted on maintaining its military presence, while the Palestinians have rejected the proposition with Fatah leadership saying they would accept NATO or other international troops instead.
However, Hamas' announcement this week indicates that not all Palestinians are in agreement with the idea of hosting an international force on the border: "We demand (U.S. Secretary of State John) Kerry and others revise their positions because we won't let anyone undermine our rights. This so-called Kerry plan was put together by the Americans and the Zionist entity to eradicate the Palestinian cause. We will not let such an agreement give away our people's rights," Abu Zahri said, also calling for a full-out rejection of the talks as well.
Peace talks have made little progress since they commenced in July 2013 with the goal of reaching a deal within a nine month timeline. However, Kerry, on behalf of Washington, has been trying to negotiate a new framework that would allow the talks to continue past the April deadline and continue until the end of 2014.