Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday stressed the importance of the Jordan Valley for Israel’s security.
Lieberman made the comments during a visit with his colleagues from the Yisrael Beiteinu party, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov and Immigration Absorption Minister Sofa Landver, to the Tamar, Megilot and Jordan Valley regional councils.
“From this place we can best see the importance of the Jordan Valley to Israel's security,” Lieberman said as he visited an observation point at the Jordan Valley. “It would be impossible to ensure the security of the State of Israel without an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley and we cannot settle for the presence of international forces, especially when we see what's happening in our region, in Syria and elsewhere. The Jordan Valley is the key to protecting Gush Dan and the most important barrier we have against the threats which we face.
“In the political situation in the Middle East, we certainly should not and cannot trust anyone but ourselves on matters of national security,” added Lieberman. “The Jordan Valley is one of the main and most sensitive points in future negotiations, but with all our desire and willingness to make bold moves, the Jordan Valley is not the place to conduct experiments which may produce irreversible results.”
Lieberman was asked whether he also meant that there should be Israeli civilian presence in the Jordan Valley and not just military forces, to which he replied that his comments relate to both military and civilian presence in the Jordan Valley. He added that the communities in the Jordan Valley have made a major contribution to the State of Israel and its security and said, “They will remain in place and we will work to strengthen them.”
Recently it was reported that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had agreed to relinquish sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.
In a speech to the Knesset plenum last year at its special Herzl Day session, the Prime Minister laid down five conditions for a peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority – but the Jordan Valley was not listed among the items.
Netanyahu later clarified that Israel will not leave the Jordan Valley, regardless of whatever final status agreement is made with the Palestinian Authority.
“I will sign a final status agreement only if Israel remains in the Jordan Valley. I believe that we are thus acting sensibly, and looking out for the welfare and security of Israel,” Netanyahu said.