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Is There Role for NATO In Israel-Palestine Peace Process?

Many “ifs” remain about a NATO role in a final Israeli-Palestinian settlement, if there is one, but the option may be there.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen (2nd L) gives the opening remarks during the Defense Ministers' Meeting with Deputy Secretary General Alexander "Sandy" Vershbow (L) at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, February 21, 2013. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta is attending the NATO meetings and holding bilateral meetings with other defense officials. REUTERS/Chip Somodevilla/Pool (BELGIUM - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS) - RTR3E2RV

As the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians resumed in July, the question of NATO as a peacekeeping force supporting the process resurfaced in the media. The idea goes back to 2000 when the Clinton Parameters recommended the deployment of an International force to “monitor the implementation of the agreement between both sides.” Along these lines, observers assumed that NATO would be the designated force and began debating its relevance.

The argument elicited lukewarm reactions among the transatlantic allies who feared such mission could turn into a protracted quagmire. Their caution led former NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in 2009 to articulate three fundamental preconditions before deciding on an alliance contribution. These so-called three big ifs are a comprehensive peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians; requests by both parties for NATO to help them with the implementation of their agreement; and UN endorsement of NATO’s involvement.

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