Share This Page

U.S. adviser works behind the scenes on Israel's security

| Monday, July 1, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
REUTERS
Secretary of State John Kerry (L) walks with chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat into Kerry's third meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank town of Ramallah June 30, 2013. Kerry squeezed in final meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Sunday as he wrapped up a fifth peace-brokering visit to the region. REUTERS

A top American adviser has been working to establish ways for the United States to guarantee Israel's security in the event it no longer occupies the West Bank — part of the effort by Secretary of State John Kerry to restart peace talks, according to officials familiar with the strategy.

Kerry completed a new round of shuttle diplomacy on Sunday without a hoped-for breakthrough.

“With a little more work, the start of final status negotiations could be within reach,” he said shortly before leaving the region.

Meanwhile, retired Marine Corps Gen. John Allen, a special adviser to Kerry and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, has been seeking to identify Israel's potential security gaps and remedy what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complains are outdated or incomplete assuran-ces of cooperation and equipment from the United States, the officials said. The goal is to remove potential deal-breakers.

Allen, the former top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has visited Israel twice and met officials in Germany for discussions about ways that the United States could update agreements reached with Israel during the last major push for a peace deal, in 2007 and 2008.

Allen and his Israeli counterparts are seeking “effective, innovative and feasible options that could be proposed to political leaders,” said a senior Obama administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Obama administration has been publicly mum about the scope and intent of Allen's work since he was appointed to the job in May, saying only that it is part of wider effort to improve the chances for peace.

Kerry is trying simultaneously to stimulate the Palestinian economy with private-sector investment and dust off a dormant offer from Arab nations for a blanket peace agreement that would settle most disputes with Israel.

Netanyahu has agreed to resume peace talks if Palestinians drop preconditions.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.