Report: Palestinians oppose U.S.-led force in West Bank as ‘occupying power’

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WASHINGTON — The Palestinian Authority has rejected a U.S.-led
international force in the West Bank, a report said.

The Gatestone Institute asserted that the PA signaled its opposition
to any U.S. plan for an international force in the West Bank. In a report,
the institute said the plan was expected to be raised by President
Barack Obama during his trip to Israel and the West Bank this month.

US President Barack Obama (R) meets with President of Palestine Mahmoud Abbas (L) in the Oval Office of the White House May 28, 2009 in Washington DC.  /Michael Reynolds/Getty Images
U.S. President Barack Obama meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at the White House on May 28, 2009. /Michael Reynolds/Getty Images

“We will not agree to the presence of any foreign forces in our
territories,” the report quoted a Palestinian spokesman as saying. “Such
forces, especially if they are led by the U.S., would be viewed as an
occupying power.”

Entitled “Palestinians to Hagel Report: We Don’t Need U.S. Troops
Here,” report author Khaled Abu Toameh said the PA was studying a proposal by new U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who in 2009 called for the deployment of a U.S.-led multinational force in the West Bank. Hagel, then a U.S. senator, said he envisioned a NATO force supplemented by Egypt, Israel and Jordan.

“We don’t need U.S. troops here,” the report quoted a senior PA official
as saying. “Instead of sending us the Marines, why doesn’t Obama just put pressure on Israel to withdraw from out lands?”

The PA official said the Ramallah regime led by Mahmoud Abbas would not
oppose the temporarily deployment of an international force between Israel
and an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The
official did not elaborate.

But Abu Toameh, deemed a leading Israeli specialist on the PA, did not
envision Arab or Israeli support for any such U.S. plan. He said neither
Egypt nor Israel would contribute to such a force, also opposed by
Palestinians. Hamas has already threatened to target NATO troops.

“Even if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were to accept
such an idea — either under U.S. pressure or by being offered financial
aid — it is certain that he would never be able to convince his people to
accept the presence of any foreign troops in their cities,” the report said.

“Any foreign military intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will
only complicate matters and pave the way for Muslim fundamentalists from all
around the world to make an effort to also get involved.”

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