PA rejects Israeli ‘leasing’ proposal for Jordan ValleyParties at odds over security arrangements along eastern border of future Palestinian state

F130928IR04-635x357By Naama Barak and Lazar Berman Illustrative photo of Israeli soldiers walking past Palestinian flags near the West Bank city of Jericho. (photo credit: Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
“No Israeli soldier will be there,” Palestinian National Council member Hanan Ashrawi told Maariv. “We will not agree [to let Israel] control or lease lands. We will not take part in redefining the Israeli occupation.”
Israel signed a similar leasing agreement with Jordan as part of the 1994 peace accords, in which Israel acknowledged Jordanian sovereignty over 300 square kilometers along the border, and leased back 30 square kilometers in automatically renewed long-term leases. “Netanyahu wants to control the Palestinian state, its borders and its airspace and refuses to discuss the option of placing international forces in the Jordan Valley,” Ashrawi told Maariv Wednesday. “We cannot agree to that. From our view, it’s just the occupation by another name, which wants to rule over us again and control our lives. We won’t accept that in any form.”

Israel insists on having an IDF presence on the Israeli-Jordanian border, which gives the narrow country some measure of strategic depth and early warning on its eastern border, and rejected an American proposal to place an international force there. In a reference to Israeli demands that Israel maintain a buffer zone in the Jordan Valley, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a Knesset address Tuesday that Israeli negotiators “will have to convince the Palestinians to adjust their demands to the circumstances around us.”

Israel must maintain a security presence in the Jordan Valley “precisely as Yitzhak Rabin insisted,” said Netanyahu to the Knesset during a special session marking the 18th anniversary of prime minister Rabin’s assassination. “What was vital then is even more vital today, given the rise of Islamic extremism and Iran’s takeover of territory we relinquished in the [South Lebabon] security zone and Gaza.”
Read Entire Story in Times for Israel

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