Israel Seeks US Recognition of Jordan Valley’s Importance for Its Security
Political sources in Tel Aviv said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu - having obtained US recognition of the annexation of East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan to Israeli sovereignty – was also seeking US approval of the annexation of the Jordan Valley as “a vital area to Israel’s security.”
Netanyahu accompanied US Security Advisor John Bolton in a tour around the West Bank. He stressed that “any future agreement” with Palestine must guarantee an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.
“In any future peace agreement, our position is that Israel’s presence here must continue - for the security of Israel and for the security of all,” the Israeli premier was quoted as saying.
Addressing his Cabinet on Monday, Netanyahu reiterated that the Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley “guarantees stability and security for the entire region.”
“To those who say that for peace to be established, Israel has to leave the Jordan Valley, I say: That’s not going to bring peace. That’s going to bring war and terror – and we’ve been there. We don’t want to be there again,” he stated.
Bolton, for his part, said during the tour: “It’s too bad... that more Americans can’t come to locations like this, see the geography, understand its significance, understand how it affects Israel’s critical security position, and explain why Israel has taken the view that it has.”
Meanwhile, sources close to Knesset member and former mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said that he had presented a plan entitled, “Improving the economic situation in the West Bank, for Palestinians and Jewish settlers,” aimed at controlling Zone C through the establishment of economic and tourism projects under Israeli supervision.
The sources said that the “Barkat Plan” - which was prepared in partnership with Professor Michael Porter, an international expert in business administration at Harvard University - differed from the US administration’s plan, known as the “Century Deal”.
They explained that while Washington's economic plan refers to investment in the areas of A and B under Palestinian control, Barkat and Porter focus on Area C, which accounts for about 60 percent of the West Bank and accommodates around 400,000 settlers.
According to Barkat’s plan, mutual economic prosperity between Arabs and Israelis in the West Bank would be achieved through cooperation between the two sides. It provides for the establishment of 12 industrial zones employing more than 200,000 Palestinians.
Barkat and Porter believe that the plan would double the average wage of Palestinian workers.
“Work and quality of life will bring peace and security,” they wrote in a presentation to senior Israeli and US officials.