Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh said the Jordan Valley is a major part of the Palestinian geography and an essential part of the future Palestinian state.
Any talk about its annexation to Israel is baseless and unacceptable and will have serious repercussions, Shtayyeh warned during a cabinet meeting that was held in the Jordan Valley.
It is an attempt to win electoral votes, he charged.
“Palestinians were born to live on this land. We were here before settlers, who live illegally,” the premier said in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s pledges to annex the Jordan Valley.
The Jordan Valley is located on the eastern side of the West Bank. It is home to 50,000 Palestinians and some 9,000 Israeli settlers who live in 35 settlements.
The cabinet meeting took place a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his caretaker government in the Jordan Valley, a largely agricultural area which he announced on September 11 that he intends to annex if he wins a fifth term in office.
Israeli cabinets have rarely held sessions in the West Bank.
Israelis went to polls on Tuesday.
The Jordan Valley is 1,622 kilometers in area, making up 28 percent of the West Bank.
A political, economic and sovereignty dispute has been raging over the border region for decades. Israel has repeatedly rejected proposals calling for its withdrawal from the region.
Netanyahu’s recent annexation remarks have been met with Palestinian, Arab and international uproar.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed to annul all agreements with Israel if he follows through with his annexation threats.
Palestinian factions have also vowed to confront the Israeli move with force.
Shtayyeh said the Palestinian Authority would take Israel to international courts for exploiting Jordan Valley territory.
“We are exerting efforts to ensure the perseverance of our people on our land in order for the Palestinian Jordan Valley region to act as the vegetable and fruit basket of Palestine as it did in the past,” he added.
“Our meeting here is aimed at underscoring its Palestinian identity,” he declared.