A new proposed law that will come before government Sunday would counter United States Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposals regarding the status of the Jordan Valley.
While Kerry is putting heavy pressure on Israel to hand control of the strategically valuable area to the Palestinian Authority, MK Miri Regev (Likud), head of the Knesset’s Internal Affairs Committee, is suggesting that Israel do the opposite: officially annex the region.
The purpose of the law is simple, Regev said, “To ensure that the current government of Israel continues to maintain Israel’s eastern line of defense, as every previous government has done.”
There is precedent for annexing strategically critical land disputed land, she noted. “Just to remind everyone, there was opposition to imposing Israeli sovereignty on the Golan region, but the sky didn’t fall when it happened,” she said.
“It’s no secret that the towns in the Jordan Valley have tremendous importance in terms of defense and strategy… Ultimately, we have a responsibility to the citizens of Israel,” Regev declared.
“Not every round of negotiations has to end with land concessions and forcibly evacuating Israeli towns,” she added. “If this continues, eventually we’ll end up with just central Tel Aviv.”
Regev expressed hope that the ministers from Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Jewish Home would not vote down her proposal despite the controversy – and international backlash – expected over declaring land claimed by the Palestinian Authority to be officially Israeli territory. She noted that the Likud had just had a stormy party meeting “in which the ministers made it clear to the government how important they think it is to keep the towns in the Jordan Valley.”
A similar law has been put forth by MK Motti Yogev (Jewish Home). Yogev argued that the overwhelming majority of Israeli citizens agree that Israel must keep the Jordan Valley. “The Jordan Valley is strategically vital, and must remain under Israeli sovereignty under any future diplomatic arrangement,” he stated.