In the wake of the appeal by the leaders of the Sovereignty Movement to the heads of the coalition to take action toward application of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, the former Minister of Agriculture and Labor Party MK Avraham Katz-Oz says that in his party, too, they understood the strategic importance of Jewish settlement in that region. “The Allon plan served as the basis for the Labor Party program for settlement in the Jordan Valley.”
Former Minister Avraham Katz-Oz, who served as Minister of Agriculture as a representative of the Labor Party, says that the issue of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley should be advanced as soon as possible. According to Katz-Oz, sovereignty over the Jordan Valley is a strategic necessity for the State of Israel and that it was the Labor movement that took action and pressed for establishment of the kibbutzim in the Jordan Valley based on understanding of the necessity to settle there.
This statement comes in response to a letter issued by the heads of the movement, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, in which they wrote to the heads of the coalition that after the legalization of Homesh, it is necessary to continue with the next step, sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.
Tomorrow, the Sovereignty Movement is planning to hold a huge convention at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem entitled: “Sovereignty over the Jordan Valley First.”
According to Katz-Oz, the issue of the sovereignty of the Jordan Valley has been an urgent priority for him since he was a member of the Knesset and a minister on behalf of the Labor Party. “In 1998, I was one of the implementers of the Allon plan, and I was involved in establishing kibbutzim and Nahal outposts in the Jordan Valley, so I have profound familiarity with this topic. In the framework of my role, we established the kibbutzim in the Jordan Valley, including Kalia, Petzael, and additional places.
To my dismay, during the negotiations that Netanyahu conducted in some of the years of his tenure, as well as Barak and Olmert, the three of them did not demand sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. I am not basing this on rumors, but from things that I witnessed. Since then the issue became more urgent in my eyes and I began to take action,” says Katz-Oz.
When Katz-Oz speaks of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley first, he is not speaking only about the Jordan Valley, but also about the Judean Desert. “From my perspective,” he explains, “we are speaking of the entire area from Mehola to Yatir. This entire area is a strategic area for the State of Israel. No one knows if tomorrow the Jordanian king, whose kingdom is always unstable, will not be overthrown, and six or seven million Palestinians will join the West Bank, forming a single state stretching from Jordan to Kalkilya. That is why we must establish an Israeli national security buffer zone along the Jordan River.”
Katz-Oz further explains that although the Labor Party did not support his law to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights, the founders of the party understood very well the importance of Jewish settlement there. “The Allon plan was the basis for the Labor Party settlement plan for the Jordan Valley. Its principles were to settle along the length of the the Jordan line, which is supposed to serve as Israel's eastern security border with Jordan, Iraq, and other countries. Had the Labor Party not understood the strategic threat to the State of Israel, it would not have established so many communities there.
“Therefore, not only do I join the call for application of sovereignty, but I call for it to be implemented in practice, to build more communities in the Jordan Valley and to bring more residents to settle the area. Today too there is a great consensus among many segments of the population regarding the need to apply sovereignty there,” says the former minister Katz-Oz.
As mentioned, Katz-Oz's statement was issued in the wake of the letter sent by the heads of the Sovereignty Movement to the heads of the coalition parties. In their letter, Katsover and Matar congratulated the heads of the coalition parties for passing the budget law and approving the return to Homesh. They declared that: “Now the time has come for the next, necessary step - the immediate application of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley in particular and in Judea and Samaria in general.” The two explained the special window of opportunity. “The sovereignty vision has broad support in the government, in the coalition, as well as among opposition MKs. This is a unique opportunity and there is no way of knowing when it may recur, with a full-fledged right wing government that supports application of sovereignty, as well as additional supporters of sovereignty in the ranks of the opposition.”
As mentioned, in the framework of the increasing pressure for application of sovereignty, tomorrow, Thursday, the Sovereignty Movement will hold a huge convention at the Ramada Hotel in Jerusalem, entitled: Sovereignty in the Jordan Valley First. Knesset members, rabbis, public figures and hundreds of youths are expected to participate in the convention where the promotion of sovereignty will be discussed and a call for its application will be sounded.