EU condemns Netanyahu plan to annex Jordan Valley
search

EU condemns Netanyahu plan to annex Jordan Valley

Brussels warns such a move could effectively kill any remaining hope for a two-state solution

Illustrative image of a mud brick house in the Palestinian village of Jiftlik in the Jordan valley. May 23, 2010. Photo by Matanya Tausig/Flash90
Illustrative image of a mud brick house in the Palestinian village of Jiftlik in the Jordan valley. May 23, 2010. Photo by Matanya Tausig/Flash90

The EU warned Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledge to annex the Jordan Valley in the West Bank if he wins next week’s election undermines chances for peace in the region.

Netanyahu’s vow was roundly condemned by the Palestinians as well as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, with the EU saying it would not recognize any change to Israel’s borders that was not agreed to by both sides.

“The policy of settlement construction and expansion… is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” an EU spokesperson said in a statement.

In a televised speech, Netanyahu also reiterated his intention to annex Israeli settlements in the wider West Bank if reelected.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks before a map of the Jordan Valley, vowing to extend Israeli sovereignty there if reelected, during a speech in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Critics have warned that such a move could effectively kill any remaining hope for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, long the focus of international diplomacy.

Netanyahu’s plan, which would see Israeli sovereignty applied to a strip of land in the West Bank adjacent to the Jordan River and reaching from the Dead Sea in the south to Beit She’an in the north, would exclude but encircle the Palestinian city of Jericho and the town Al-Auja, as well as including six more Palestinian communities.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas vowed to cancel any previous agreements with Israel if it went ahead with the move.

Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority reportedly began the process of issuing building permits in all areas of the West Bank — even those where Israel maintains security and administrative control. That decision was announced in early August by PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh during a meeting in Ramallah that was attended by Saleh and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Fadi al-Hadami, among others.

A view of the Jordan Valley (photo credit: heatkernel)
A view of the Jordan Valley (photo credit: CC-BY heatkernel/Flickr/File)

“Israel no longer respects any of the signed agreements and has started to deal with all places as if they are part of Area C. Therefore, we will deal with all places as if they are part of Area A,” Shtayyeh said at the time, according to the official PA news site Wafa.

Area C, some 60 percent of the West Bank, is where the Israeli settlements are located; it is administered by Israel, whereas Area A is under PA control.

The United Nations also condemned Netanyahu’s plan.

“The secretary-general’s position has always been clear: unilateral actions are not  helpful in the peace process,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday.

“Any Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdictions and administration in the occupied West Bank is without any international legal effect. Such a prospect would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations, regional peace, and the very essence of a two-state solution.”

The United States, which is expected to unveil its long-awaited peace plan sometime after next week’s Knesset election, took a different tack, stating that Netanyahu’s plan would not foreclose the possibility of a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict if enacted.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more:
comments