P.A. Demands Regular Army

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CBNNews.com - RAMALLAH, West Bank - Palestinian Authority (PA) Chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia has called for the establishment of a regular army for a future Palestinian state, despite all previous accords between Israel and the Palestinians, which stipulate that a Palestinian state would be demilitarized.

Last Sunday, while Israeli and PA negotiating teams discussed security concerns, Qureia dropped the proverbial bomb by informing Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni that the Palestinian state would have to have its own standing army.

Livni, taken off guard by Queria's demand, sought clarification, according to YNet news.

Qureia said he was not referring to the PA police force, but rather to a regular army to defend the state from its enemies.

"This isn't an army intended to launch an attack against Israel," a senior PA official close to Qureia told YNet. "We are not asking for F-16 jets, but rather a force that would be able to defend the nation from threat and realize its basic right to exist in security," he said.

Livni rejected the idea because of the past agreements.

But the PA official said agreements based on the Oslo Accords no longer applied.

"Oslo spoke of an intermediary entity. Now we are talking about a Palestinian state born out of a permanent agreement. There is no clause in any of the understandings that denies the Palestinian state an army to defend itself with, to defend its orders and citizens with," he said.

During her remarks at last week's presidential conference, Livni made mention of the PA's latest demand.

"Yes, it is important to set recognized borders, but that is not clear enough," the foreign minister told conference participants. "We must determine what will be on the other side of that border," she said.

"We are talking about a demilitarized state here [and] we will not stand for a terror state or an extremist Islamic state," she said.

"There are conditions that will have to be met before and after," Livni said.

"I don't hold [to a position of] just tossing the keys over the border and hoping for the best. There will be no agreement over the future territory without satisfactory assurances regarding what its nature will be," she said.

Source: YNet news

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