NATO Forces Deployed to West Bank?

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CBNNews.com - According to a report in The Jerusalem Post, U.S. and Israeli officials are discussing the pros and cons of deploying NATO forces in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) to pave the way for an Israeli withdrawal.

According to Israeli defense officials, US Special Envoy and former NATO commander General James Jones is speaking with European officials about their potential roles in a multinational force.

Jones' plan calls for NATO troops to replace Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops until the Palestinian Authority (PA) can take over security in Judea and Samaria.

"The deployment of such a force has come up in talks, and Jones is known to be working on it," said a senior Israeli defense official. "At the moment, it's just an idea and has yet to be accepted or adopted by Israel," he said.

While Jones has briefed Defense Minister Ehud Barak on his plan to replace the IDF, a source close to Barak admitted that the presence of multinational forces would complicate Israel's ability to respond to a Palestinian terror attack.

"If they fire a Kassam rocket into Israel, will we be able to respond or will we need to rely on the foreign troops stationed there?" asked one defense official.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Richard Jones said such a plan would take several years to implement.

Speaking at the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, Jones admitted there are no quick fixes.

"This is going to be a long, hard slog," said Jones. "But once a mutually accepted vision is accepted, both sides will accept the reality and encourage each side to work toward goals set out by the road map," he said.

Source: The Jerusalem Post

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