September 15, 2019

Netanyahu Pledges Annexation of the Jordan Valley

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, Israel September 10, 2019. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged to annex myriad settlements in the Jordan Valley if he is re-elected as prime minister in a Sept. 10 speech.

Netanyahu called his annexation plan a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to protect Israel’s borders. 

This will ensure that Judea and Samaria do not become Gaza, and that Kfar Saba, Netanya and Tel Aviv will not become like communities along the border of Gaza,” Netanyahu said. He added this proposal could be carried out with annexing any Palestinians.

His plan involves annexing 30 settlements where approximately 8,000 people reside, according to the Times of Israel

A Trump administration official told the Times of Israel that Netanyahu’s pledge doesn’t conflict with the administration’s proposed peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, which will be unveiled after Israel’s elections on Sept. 17.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called Netanyahu “the chief destroyer of the peace process,” adding “if [Netanyahu] believes that annexing settlement blocs will bring him more votes in the short term, then he and Israel will be the losers in the long term.”

The Israel Policy Forum condemned Netanyahu’s announcement in a statement, warning that “unilaterally annexing the territory risks destroying any possibility of future security cooperation with the Palestinians and puts security cooperation with the Jordanians at risk. This is not a security measure, but political electioneering designed to use security for campaign ends.”

The Yesha Council, the umbrella organization for West Bank Jewish settlement councils, praised Netanyahu’s announcement as “historic,” saying that it “places the settlements as integral parts of the State of Israel.”