Olmert: Israel doesn't need the Jordan Valley from a security standpoint

Former PM dismisses notion that Israel needs the Jordan Valley for security reasons as "unfounded nonsense".

Elad Benari ,

Ehud Olmert
Ehud Olmert
Marc Israel Sellem

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave a rare interview to the Saudi Elaph newspaper in which he commented on the issue of sovereignty. A recording from the interview was published Thursday on Channel 12 News.

In response to a question from journalist Majdi Halabi, Olmert argued that Israel does not need the Jordan Valley in terms of security. "It's unfounded nonsense," Olmert said, warning that "annexation will cause disaster" and is expected to spark a new wave of violence and terror.

"This entire argument that we now need the Jordan Valley for security purposes is unfounded nonsense," Olmert said. "This is coming from a former Israeli Prime Minister. Nobody will tell me I'm not an Israeli patriot."

The former Prime Minister added, "When I say we need the Valley, we don't need it for security purposes. What for? The reasoning is that there will be a dividing line between the Palestinian state and Jordan."

In his response to the Saudi journalist, Olmert revealed that he had discussed the issue with the Jordanian king. "I talked to King Abdullah about it. I asked the king, ‘Would you be willing to have a NATO international force along the Jordan on the Jordanian side?’ He told me yes."

The Likud party said in response, "After Olmert was ready to give up the Western Wall, there is no surprise that he is willing to give up the Jordan Valley which is vital for the security of the State of Israel. Olmert's words are irresponsible and insignificant."