Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Tuesday, September 10, that he would establish sovereignty over the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria by annexing the Jordan valley if he is re-elected in the upcoming elections of September 17.
“Today I’m announcing my intention, with the establishment of the next government, to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea. This is our essential safety belt in the east. This is the eastern defensive wall.” Netanyahu said.
He further added that he would make the move in coordination with the US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be unveiled sometime after the vote. Netanyahu quoted the support of US administration as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to end the issue of disputed West Bank region.
The Palestinians have strongly condemned Netanyahu’s statement, saying that he was destroying any hopes for peace and warned that it will have negative consequences. The Opposition party of Israel has called it a cynical plot to influence elections which are just a week away.
The Jordan Valley is a strip of territory in the West Bank, which was captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967 and has controlled it since then. The borders of the territory aren’t precisely defined, but the area to which Netanyahu was referring is extensive. The West Bank got its name because it’s the western bank of the Jordan River.
The Israeli right and its supporters say Israel rightfully won the territory in an intense war but the Palestinians, the international community and the Israeli left have opposing views. Some Israelis especially religious Jews consider the West Bank or Judea and Samaria as Israel’s heartland with the occurrence of many of the Bible’s events.
Palestinians immediately reacted by saying Mr. Netanyahu was destroying any hopes for peace, while his electoral opponents accused him of a cynical play for right-wing nationalist votes with polls only a week away.