NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the alliance will not offer its services to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel unless the two sides sign a peace deal.
NATO would “not (be) involved in the Mideast peace process and is not seeking a role in it,” Rasmussen said at an annual security conference in the Israeli city of Herzliya on Wednesday.
If a future peace agreement is violated or any of the two sides needs assistance, NATO will intervene and provide its peacekeeping troops, the Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Rasmussen has discussed the expansion of Tel Aviv-NATO cooperation with the premier.
Acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas says he would agree to have NATO troops deployed in Palestine for a limited period of time.
Under US pressure, the PA joined the negotiating table with Israeli leaders in Washington in September, but the talks broke down after Israel defied international calls to renew a partial freeze on its West Bank settlement construction projects.
The Palestinian Authority insists that Israel must stop all settlement activities in the West Bank and illegally annexed East al-Quds before negotiations can resume, and wants an international position to support their demand.
Ramallah’s willingness to hold talks with Israel has received scathing criticism from the Palestinian public and major parties who accuse the PA of bowing to US and Israeli pressure.
The critics have also voiced concern that the negotiating team for the pro-Western Ramallah-based PA might end up giving more concessions to Israel.