Saturday, March 2, 2013

Palestinians to Hagel Report: "We Don't Need U.S. Troops Here"

by Khaled Abu Toameh

Any Arab leader who agrees to join a U.S. or NATO force will be denounced by his people as a traitor and puppet in the hands of Zionists and Americans. Any foreign troops will become a target for terror attacks, as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Palestinians repeated this week their opposition to the new-old idea of deploying a U.S.-led international force in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"We will not agree to the presence of any foreign forces in our territories," spokesman for various Palestinian groups said. "Such forces, especially if they are led by the U.S., would be viewed as an occupying power."

Those who are opposed to the deployment of foreign troops in the Palestinian territories say that they would never accept a situation "where Israeli occupation is replaced with another occupation."

The Palestinians were commenting on a 2009 report that resurfaced this week, entitled, "A Last Chance For A Two State Israel-Palestine Agreement."

The report was co-authored by then-Senator Chuck Hagel, who was confirmed this week as US Secretary of Defense. It talks about deploying a "US-led multinational force" which would "feature American leadership of a NATO force supplemented by Jordanians, Egyptians and Israelis."

Commenting on the idea, a senior Palestinian Authority official in Ramallah said, "We don't need U.S. troops here. Instead of sending us the Marines, why doesn't [President Barack] Obama just put pressure on Israel to withdraw from out lands?"

The official warned that Palestinians were not enthusiastic about the presence of U.S. or any foreign troops in their territories. "We already have our own security forces," he stressed.

However, the Palestinian official pointed out that the Palestinian Authority leadership was not opposed to the idea of temporarily deploying an international peace-keeping force along the border between Israel and a future Palestinian state. But this arrangement would be unacceptable to Israel: terrorists would strike inside Israel, then the foreign forces would effectively prevent Israel from exercising its right of "hot pursuit" to follow and apprehend the perpetrators.

There is also no guarantee that Egypt, Jordan or any Arab country would be prepared to join a US-led force in wake of the current events in the Arab world.

Many Arabs and Muslims continue to view the US as an enemy, especially because of Washington's support for Israel. Any Arab leader who agrees to join a U.S. or NATO force will be denounced by his people as a traitor and puppet in the hands of Americans and Zionists.

Besides, who said that the Arab countries are keen on sending troops to patrol the streets of Palestinian cities?

Does anyone seriously think that Jordan's King Abdullah would ever send Jordanian soldiers to Palestinian cities? Hasn't Jordan's policy over the past two decades been to distance itself as much as possible from the Palestinians?

And does Hagel or anyone else in the US Administration really believe that the Egyptians would be happy to deploy their troops in the West Bank or Gaza Strip? Don't the Egyptians already have enough problems at home?

Even if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas were to accept such an idea -- either under U.S. pressure or by being offered financial aid -- it is certain that he would never be able to convince his people to accept the presence of any foreign troops in their cities.

Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups have openly stated that any foreign troops will become a target for terror attacks.

Any foreign military intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will only complicate matters and pave the way for Muslim fundamentalists from all around the world to make an effort to also get involved. Al-Qaeda and other Islamist terror groups will start sending their men to the Palestinian territories to fight against the American "infidels" and their Arab "collaborators," as happened in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Muslim fundamentalists were dispatched to launch jihad against the U.S. and other Western forces.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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