Intelligence Minister: Israel rejects any US-proposed Jordan Valley security plan
Steinitz told Israeli public radio Sunday that "Anyone who proposes a solution in the Jordan Valley by deploying an international force, Palestinian police or technological means ... does not understand the Middle East" (Courtesy of Tomer Applebaum/Haaretz)
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An Israeli cabinet member closely affiliated with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday that Israel "rejects" any "U.S.-proposed security concessions for the Jordan Valley," according to Agence France-Presse.
Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz stated on Israeli public radio, "Security must remain in our hands. Anyone who proposes a solution in the Jordan Valley by deploying an international force, Palestinian police or technological means ... does not understand the Middle East."
Palestinians have previously expressed interest in having an international armed force to "patrol" the Jordan Valley under U.S. Secretary of State Kerry's tentative framework for peace, but Israel's strong opposition has sidelined the idea to a large extent. Israel wants a "long-term military presence" in the Jordan Valley, but the proposed plan suggested a mixed Israeli-Palestinian military presence that would eventually be withdrawn once security is ensured in the area.
Steinitz statement follows Kerry's recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories to finalize the tentative framework for peace between the two conflicting groups. Kerry has stated that the framework will address the core issues in conflict, including the future of a Palestinian state, refugees, the "fate of Jerusalem," security and mutual recognition. However, no details of the proposed framework have been released thus far, and Kerry confirmed that the final accord would not be agreed upon or announced during this trip.
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