Joined: 09 Sep 2006
|Posted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:25 pm Post subject: IDF opposes plan for NATO in W. Bank
|IDF opposes plan for NATO in W. Bank
~Yaakov Katz , THE JERUSALEM POST Dec. 2, 2008
A day after President-elect Barack Obama chose retired general James Jones
as his national security adviser, Israeli defense officials said Tuesday
that they were opposed to the deployment of a NATO force in the West Bank
following an Israeli withdrawal, a plan Jones supports.
A former commander of NATO, Jones has for the past year served as a security
envoy to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
During his meetings with Israelis, Jones has proposed that a NATO-based
international force deploy in the West Bank in the interim period between an
Israeli withdrawal and the Palestinian forces becoming able to curb terror
"This plan was proposed in order to ease our concerns," explained one
official who had met with Jones on one of the latter's many visits to the
region. "In reality though, it isn't likely to work."
The IDF is particularly wary of such a plan, a top IDF officer said, who
added that the military's operational freedom in the territories was
responsible for the drop in terrorist attacks.
"NATO is a very bad idea," the officer said. "No other country in the world
has successfully dealt with terror like Israel has. There is a need for
continuous combat; NATO will not want to endanger its soldiers on behalf of
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni flew to Brussels for a gathering of
foreign ministers at NATO headquarters. The visit comes amid growing ties
between Israel and NATO, marked by a visit to Brussels two weeks ago by IDF
Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi.
In the past year, Israel has hosted a number of NATO workshops in Tel Aviv,
the latest of which focused on unmanned aerial vehicles. In the next few
months another workshop will be held in Israel for all NATO members, dealing
with logistic supply.
But despite the warming of ties, Israeli defense officials said it was
unlikely that NATO would be willing to deploy forces in the West Bank before
a final peace agreement was signed between Israel and the Palestinian
Authority. In addition, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer has
said that NATO would only begin to consider such a deployment after an
official invitation from both sides as well as approval by the United
Nations Security Council.
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