JERUSALEM — Secretary of State John Kerry said Thursday that he had provided Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel with “some thoughts” about security arrangements that could be put in place if Israel and the Palestinians negotiated a peace agreement.
Kerry presented the ideas on security arrangements in the West Bank and in the Jordan Valley along with John R. Allen, a retired Marine general who was top commander in Afghanistan and is now advising the State Department on Middle East security issues.
The briefing appears to signify a more active US role in the talks, one in which US officials are not merely encouraging the Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate but are presenting their own proposals.
US officials appear to be calculating that progress on security arrangements will enable discussions on the question of what the borders of a new Palestinian state should be and other fundamental issues. But it was not clear if there was a meeting of US and Israeli minds on security.
With Netanyahu by his side, Kerry told reporters after his morning meeting that the United States accepted the principle that Israel should be able to “defend itself by itself.”
But neither Kerry nor other US officials have explained publicly what role, if any, the Israeli military might play in the Jordan Valley, the prime focus of security issues, if a peace treaty is agreed on.
Kerry later met in Ramallah with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority.