"I and my colleague, The Times’s Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, sat down with President Abbas in his headquarters in the West Bank town of Ramallah on Saturday afternoon to probe his thinking on this issue. He returned — with greater enthusiasm than ever — to an idea whose time may have come: Summon NATO to provide the cement.
After Israelis and Palestinians agree on the contours of a Palestinian state, said Abbas, let Israeli troops remain in the West Bank for a five-year transitional period to work with Palestinian and Jordanian security forces and reassure the Israeli public that it is not going to get hit with the flurry of rockets it got hit with after Israel quit the Gaza Strip. And then have the Israeli forces replaced indefinitely by an American-led NATO force, with troops throughout the territory, at every crossing and within Arab East Jerusalem — along with, of course, Palestinian police and security units. Abbas was clearly going out of his way to show that he is prepared to go a long way to address Israel’s security concerns, but in a way that is consistent with his own sovereignty concerns.
Let NATO forces stay, said Abbas, “for a long time, and wherever they want, not only on the eastern borders but also on the western borders, everywhere ... For a long time, for the time they wish. NATO can be everywhere, why not?”