PM Orders Construction of Security Fence in Jordan Valley
A report in the morning edition of Maariv today (Sunday) reveals that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has ordered the construction of a security fence in the Jordan Valley, due to the impasse in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority over the military control of area. Netanyahu maintains that Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley would ensure the State of Israel's safety even in the event of a "two-state solution" which would include the establishment of an Arab state in much of Judea and Samaria.
In January 2012, Netanyahu had promised ministers that he would "strengthen barriers along his country's border with Jordan" in a bid to keep out illegal migrants, once the security barrier near Eilat, which lines Israel's border with Egypt's Sinai peninsula was completed. According to most recent reports, building the Jordan Valley security fence will immediately follow its completion.
Palestinian Arab representatives have panned the decision, decrying alleged efforts to derail peace talks in the days before this week's upcoming visit by US Secretary General John Kerry. Kerry is due to meet Israeli leaders and Palestinian Authority representatives separately this week as part of a larger tour across the Middle East. The US has pushed peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority after a three-year hiatus, when Prime Minister Netanyahu finally halted the Judea and Samaria building freeze in July 2010.
The move has also prompted this week's controversial release of 26 convicted terrorists to Judea and Samaria, allegedly as a precondition for negotiations. However, the initiative to strengthen Israel's borders this week may further stall the talks, as PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has already threatened to refuse US involvement if Israel secures the vital Jordan Valley area.
The Prime Minister is currently engaged in a general increase in State security, much to the PA's chagrin. More than just the Egypt and Jordan fences, he has also ordered acceleration in the building of the security fence along the Syrian border in the Golan Heights, to prevent altercations with forces involved in the ongoing Syrian Civil War.