Benny Gantz
Benny Gantz Elad Malka

Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz vowed Tuesday afternoon to promote the application of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley after the March 2nd election.

During a tour of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area Tuesday, Gantz responded to calls from the Israeli Right for the application of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, a key strategic area on Israel’s eastern border – an area that the Palestinian Authority has claimed for a future Palestinian state.

Gantz said he would work to promote the application of Israeli sovereignty over the area in the next Knesset, but suggested he would not do so unilaterally, instead calling for “coordination” with the international community.

“We are repeating this and saying it definitely: the Jordan Valley is the shield on Israel’s eastern front,” adding that the area would remain under Israel control “in any possible scenario.”

The Blue and White chief, a former IDF chief of staff, said that previous Israeli governments which had considered surrendering the area in exchange for a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority were “mistaken”.

“We view this area as being an inseparable part of the State of Israel, and after the elections, we will work to apply Israeli sovereignty in the Valley, in coordination with the international community.”

Gantz called on the Trump administration to release its much-anticipated Middle East peace plan before the Israeli general election, despite recent reports Gantz was opposed to an early release of the plan.

“I hope that President Trump pushes up the release of his peace plan. I look forward to seeing the publication of the peace plan as soon as possible.”

Gantz’s comments come a day after Blue and White MK Yael German, a former Health Minister, said the party would support the evacuation of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria as part of a final status agreement with the Palestinian Authority, and rejected the possibility of the party backing the application of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.

“We aren’t talking about annexing the Jordan Valley, I don’t know where that is coming from,” said German in an interview with Galei Tzahal.

“We’re talking about some kind of deal which is based on disengagement. It is written explicitly in our platform. Maybe everyone is seeing what they want to see.”

Last September, shortly before the elections to the 22nd Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to annex the Jordan Valley if reelected premier.

On Monday, Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich called on Gantz to weigh in on the question of annexing the Jordan Valley, and pushed to have the proposal brought before the Knesset plenum.