Abbas rules out Israeli troops in future Palestinian state
AFP, Sunday 17 Apr 2011
Abbas said Israeli troops would not be deployed in an 'independent' occupation-free Palestinian state

The Palestinian Authority will "collapse" if Israel insists on stationing troops inside any future Palestinian state, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has told AFP.

Abbas, in an interview, said he would not allow any Israeli troops to be deployed in a future Palestinian state, despite Israel's insistence that it be able to maintain a military presence along the West Bank's border with Jordan.

Israel says it would need such a security presence for around 40 years to ensure the border between any Palestinian state and Jordan was secure.

Abbas said he told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in September 2010 that such a troop presence would torpedo the possibility of an independent Palestinian state, and would effectively destroy the Palestinian Authority (PA).

"If he wants to stay for 40 years, it means that it is an occupation, so he will keep his occupation," Abbas told AFP. "I told him 'If you insist on that, keep your troops here and keep your occupation forever."

Abbas said Netanyahu had rejected alternatives to the deployment of Israeli troops, such as an international force, or a NATO deployment.

An Israeli troop deployment inside a future Palestine would effectively bring about the "collapse" of the PA, Abbas said.

Netanyahu insisted earlier this year that Israel could not withdraw from the border between the West Bank and Jordan entirely.

"Our security border is here on the Jordan (river) and our defence line begins here," he said in March during a tour of the border area, which is currently under Israeli control.

"If that line is breached, they will be able to infiltrate terrorists, rockets and missiles all the way to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beersheva and the whole state," he said.