Report: Defense Ministry Rejects US Plan for Jordan Valley
The Defense Ministry has rejected the US's security plan for the Jordan Valley, Maariv reports Wednesday.
According to the daily, Jerusalem has told US officials ahead of US Secretary of State John Kerry's visit this week that the Jordan Valley security arrangement is unacceptable for Israel's security needs. This report remains unconfirmed.
The US's security plan involves a slow transition from IDF patrols over the region to Palestinian Authority (PA) forces, with an international presence, according to reports. IDF drones would also be deployed over the area, as a means of gathering information about any terrorist activity that could potentially develop there.
The Israeli government has insisted that the region is of crucial importance to Israel's future, and has been critical of plans to hand over the area to the PA. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that in the event that Israel withdrew from Judea and Samaria, as per Kerry's plans, the Jordan Valley be kept under Israeli control.
The US's plan is based on the 1967 "Allon Plan," which received wide acclaim at the time. The plan insists that the Jordan Valley is the key to Israel's security, even in the event of a withdrawal to 1949 Armistice Lines; however, analysts have noted that the rest of Judea and Samaria is actually more crucial to Israel's security than the Jordan Valley itself.
Despite this, the Israeli government has insisted that its only "red line" would be maintaining its presence in the Valley. On Sunday, a Ministerial Cabinet approved a bill to annex the Valley on that premise.
MK Ofir Akunis reiterated this stance Tuesday, stating, “the Jordan Valley is Israel's iron wall, and only the presence of the IDF and the settlers of the Valley, will guarantee the security of the citizens of Israel. Whoever cedes the Jordan Valley, will abandon Israel's security.”