Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country has the “full right” to annex the Jordan Valley.
Netanyahu said his proposal to annex the strategic part of the occupied West Bank was discussed during a late-night meeting in Lisbon, Portugal with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Netanyahu said he told Pompeo it was Israel’s “full right to do so, if we choose so.”
The premier also said they agreed to move forward with plans for a joint defense treaty.
Netanyahu, beleaguered by a corruption indictment and political instability at home, is promoting the two initiatives as a rationale for his staying in office.
The annexation of the alley would establish a permanent buffer along the border with Jordan and leave the Palestinians with only isolated enclaves surrounded by Israel, all but ruling out their dream of building a hoped-for state. The United Nations warned the step would be “devastating" to the prospects of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Israel captured the area from Jordan, along with the rest of the West Bank and east Jerusalem, in the 1967 war. Since then, it has established around 30 settlements in the Jordan Valley, which is now home to some 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 settlers, according to the Israeli rights group B'Tselem. The international community, along with the Palestinians, overwhelmingly considers all Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem illegal.