The Zionist regime of Israel rejects any U.S.-proposed security concessions for the Jordan Valley, a cabinet member close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, as U.S. Secretary John Kerry visited the occupied territories.
"Security must remain in our hands. Anyone who proposes a solution in the Jordan Valley by deploying an international force, Palestinian police or technological means ... does not understand the Middle East," Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israeli public radio.
Steinitz's comments came after three days of intense shuttle diplomacy by Kerry, who was trying to push a framework for final status talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Meanwhile, the Israeli regime’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that he would oppose any deal with the Palestinians if it includes the right of return "even for one person."
According to Lieberman, some three million refugees would want to immigrate to the country that would be established, and if Israel agrees to the right of return, it will face international pressure to harbor at least some, Yedioth Aharonoth reported on its website on Sunday.
Any proposal Israel received from the international community would be much more comfortable, Lieberman said at an assembly of Israeli ambassadors.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian Authority acting Chief Mahmoud Abbas spoke about the Americans' desire for the Palestinians to recognize Israel, a senior Palestinian politician told Arab media. He also said the meeting between the two sides was difficult.
An executive member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Abed Rabbo, said there was no progress in the talks, but there is serious debate. Abed Rabbo said he doesn't think that in the next couple of days there will be an American offer for an agreement.
Meanwhile, Jordanian public officials spoke out against Kerry's plans for an agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Member of Parliament Mohammed Zaharawi said, "the Jordanian nation will not remain quiet while this plot is being fabricated against us and our interests and the Palestinian interests," al-Quds al-Arabi reported.
On Thursday, Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told members of his parliament that an Israeli political proposal to annex the Jordan Valley is a violation of the peace treaty between the two sides, signed in 1994.
With a late April deadline looming for the negotiations that he kick-started in July after a three-year hiatus, Kerry has pledged to work even more intensively in the coming months.
U.S. officials have refused to release any details of the proposed framework, and Kerry acknowledged it would not be agreed during this trip.
Palestinian hopes of having an international force brought in to help patrol the Jordan Valley under a peace deal had been sidelined, a Palestinian source told AFP Saturday.
Instead the U.S. was proposing a mixed Israeli-Palestinian military presence to ensure security in the area, without setting a deadline when the Israeli troops would be withdrawn.
But Israel insists on maintaining a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley.
Kerry has said a peace treaty will deal with all the core issues dividing the two sides. These include the contours of a future Palestinian state, refugees, the fate of Jerusalem claimed by both as a capital, security, and mutual recognition.
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