Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has stated that even if a deal is reached to enable lasting peace, Israel will maintain a military presence along the border with Jordan.Netanyahu’s justification lies in the prevention of smuggling arms and to continue their missile defence system to protect Israel form potential attacks.
“The ability to proliferate into contiguous areas thousands of rockets and missiles… is something that creates a monumental security problem. We must ensure… there is a way to stop the infiltration of weapons.’
Speaking to the Associated Press, chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, rebuked Netanyahu,
‘Once again Netanyahu asks for dictation, not negotiations.’
Netanyahu has reiterated his desire for peace talks to continue, but the Palestinian Authority has refused to return to the table until the construction of settlements in the West Bank is put on hold.
Israel announced a 10 month long freeze in construction last November, but it has found ways to circumnavigate their promise, in the settlement of Kiryat Netafim for example and has shown its intention to forge ahead with renewed vigour once this period has expired.
The local municipalities in the settlements, which are illegal under international law, have been granted permission to issue construction permits, with immediate effect at the end of the freeze.
Speaking to foreign media on Wednesday, Netanyahu criticized the PA,
‘The Palestinians have climbed up a tree. And they like it up there. People bring ladders to them. We bring ladders to them. The higher the ladder, the higher they climb. I’m prepared for peace. Are the Palestinians ready for peace?’
Netenyahu’s statements come in contradiction to the Israeli government’s action.