Did Likud Official Back Jordan Valley Withdrawal?

Jordan Valley leader says Likud's Hanegbi told him Israel will have to surrender the area due to US pressure. Hanegbi: "Who, me?”

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Tzachi Hanegbi
Tzachi Hanegbi
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Did he or didn’t he? The chairman of the Jordan Valley Regional Council told Arutz Sheva that former Likud Knesset Member Hanegbi told him last August that Israel will have to surrender the area due to U.S. pressure.  

Hanegbi, who previously was convicted of perjury, initially told Arutz Sheva he does not even remember talking with the council chairman, David Alhayani. When he was reminded of the conversation at his own Jerusalem area home, Hanegbi admitted it took place only several years ago, but insisted he opposed a withdrawal.

He allegedly said, “We will have to withdrawal from the Jordan Valley. There are things that we see from here and are not seen from there. “There is pressure from the United States.”

The former Likud MK, who defected to Kadima and has now rejoined Likud as a senior member, told Arutz Sheva, “I never said we should withdraw from the Jordan Valley, On the contrary, it is the security border of Israel." He related that he told Alhayani that he is strongly against surrendering the area and that the council chairman thanked him for his position. He added, “It is impossible he misunderstood me.”

Alhayani expressed surprise at Hanegbi’s denial and added that he hopes Likud members vote with “a clear head for those faithful to Likud [principles].

The Likud has had a history of taking nationalist stands and then executing the opposite. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu last year reversed a long-standing policy and announced he could recognize the Palestinian Authority as an independent state.

The most blatant about-face was the expulsion of 9,000 Jews from Gaza and four communities in northern Samaria in 2005 under the so-called “Disengagement Plan.” Ariel Sharon was head of the Likud party previously but abandoned it to form the Kadima party after many Likud MKs opposed the Disengagement. His new party virtually decimated the Likud party following a large-scale exodus of MKs who joined Kadima, including Hanegbi.

The Likud’s fortunes have turned around since then, and many former Likud MKs who are still in Kadima now are faced with the possibility of being left out of the next Knesset due to the likelihood that Kadima will barely have enough support in the January elections to return to the Knesset, if at all.