The Jordan Valley must remain a part of Israel in the event of any negotiated settlement, Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar said Thursday. On a visit to the area, Sa'ar said that without the Jordan Valley, there was no way Israel could defend itself.
“Without the Jordan Valley, Israel will not have the strategic depth necessary to defend itself,” Sa'ar said. During a visit to the area with the Knesset's Land of Israel Lobby, Sa'ar said that “an Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley will be a requirement of Israel's defense for many generations to come.”
In order to have such a presence, he added, there needed to be an Israeli settlement presence as well. “Without Jewish settlement, the army has nothing to defend and no reason to be there, and without the army there will be only terror.” Israel must fully embrace the Jordan Valley and make it a part of the state in order to prevent it from turning into a terror base, he said.
Also on the tour was Coalition head Yariv Levin. Levin said that the Lobby was behind Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and would support him in any way to prevent U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry from pressuring him into accepting a deal with the PA that was bad for Israel.
“The Jordan Valley is Israeli and will remain Israeli,” Levin said. “We are here because we have right to be here. Security concerns are important but they are not the main reason for our right to this area.” Echoing Sa'ar, Levin said that an Israeli civilian presence was absolutely necessary in order to ensure that the area did not turn into a nest for terrorists.
“We have a clear message for the Prime Minister,” he added. “We have a strong coalition that will ensure the security of the Jordan Valley. We expect him to remain strong on this issue. I am sure that we will continue to develop the Jordan Valley and help it grow.”