On May 19, Obama highlighted Palestinian Authority security forces as a
key facilitator for the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West
Bank, Middle East Newsline reported. The president
said Palestinians must have security responsibility in such a state, but
added that they would not operate a military.
"Regarding IDF deployment, President Obama said that the Palestinian
state should have borders with Egypt, Jordan, and Israel, and referred to
the 'full and phased' withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces," Robert
Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East
Policy, said. "This statement implies categorical American opposition to any
open-ended Israeli presence inside the future Palestinian state. This
differs from the Clinton parameters, which envisioned three Israeli
'facilities' inside the West Bank, with no time limit on their presence."
The United States, with about $200 million in aid offered in 2011, has been a
leading benefactor to PA security forces. Officials said the State
Department envisions a PA security force of more than 40,000, led by the
U.S.-trained and -equipped National Security Forces, deemed a paramilitary
force and meant to model the U.S. National Guard.
"Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of
terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective
border security," Obama said. "The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli
military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian
security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the
duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of
security arrangements must be demonstrated."
The president said the establishment of a Palestinian state should
precede a full settlement with Israel. He said such issues as the demand
that millions of Palestinians live in Israel as well as the future of
Jerusalem should be postponed until after statehood.
"But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides
a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and
that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians,"
In his speech, Obama referred to the Fatah-Hamas agreement for a unified
government and security forces. The president urged Israel to overcome its
suspicion while Washington and its allies draft a formula "to get beyond the
current impasse" and warned that Israel was losing its ability to defend
"Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself," Obama