Kerry says high-tech border could protect Israel after peace

By ALBERT OTTI | The (Hamburg, Germany) Deutsche Presse-Agentur | Published: January 25, 2014

DAVOS, Switzerland — Israel could protect itself with high-tech fortifications rather than by leaving military forces in the West Bank under a two-state solution, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday at the World Economic Forum.

Israel has insisted that its army remain stationed along the West Bank-Jordan border even after a peace treaty is reached. Palestinians have reject the demand.

A fortified border would protect against military or terrorist attacks "by deploying state-of-the-art technology, with a comprehensive programme of rigorous testing," Kerry said at the meeting of global state and business leaders in Davos, Switzerland.

There would be several layers of protection, Kerry said, noting that Jordan was involved in the ongoing discussions.

The border issue has emerged as one of several sticking points in Kerry's efforts to negotiate a framework agreement that envisions a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians.

"We understand that Israel has to be strong to make peace, but also that peace will make Israel strong," he said.

Kerry stressed that just as Israel's security concerns must be addressed, the Palestinians had to know that their territory would in the end be free of Israeli troops.

In an interview Thursday with Dubai-based broadcaster Al Arabiya, Kerry said he did not know when he would be able to announce the framework that would define what he called the "end game" of a peace deal and a two-state solution.

One Palestinian was killed and another wounded by Israeli soldiers during a demonstration Friday inside the Gaza Strip at Israel's border fence, authorities of the ruling Hamas movement said. The Israeli military confirmed an incident without offering details.

Palestinian ralliers were protesting blockade of the coastal territory, which is has been controlled by the Islamist militant group Hamas since 2007.

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