Netanyahu Promises to Annex West Bank/Jordan Valley, if Elected

Prior to the election, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that if elected he would annex large parts of occupied Palestinian territory. “I will annex settlements in cooperation with Donald Trump’s Administration,” Netanyahu stated. “We can annex settlements immediately after the elections if I am re-elected Prime Minister.” Netanyahu also said that he would gain permanent control of Judea and Samaria settlements, starting with the Jordan Valley and extending to areas of the West Bank. Netanyahu said, “The annexation plan will annex the entire Jordan Valley along the whole borders from Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea.” He also said it would “exclude Jericho and its environs and doesn’t annex even one Palestinian.” The Palestinians and political opponents were quick to respond. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh called Netanyahu “the chief destroyer of the peace process” and said “any foolish move he makes will leave negative consequences on him locally and internationally.” The Blue and White Party stated that Israelis in “the Jordan Valley are not actors in Netanyahu’s propaganda film,” and observed that Netanyahu drafted a plan to waive the Jordan Valley in 2014. However, Blue and White did note that they agreed with the goal of recognizing the Jordan Valley as Israeli territory. Annexation would likely spell the end of the Palestinian’s hope for a Palestinian state. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

More Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

A Fox News report provides more details of Netanyahu’s statements. According to Fox, citing a Times of Israel report, Netanyahu said, “I caused them [the Trump administration] to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, after that to move the embassy there, and then recognize our sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” Netanyahu also said, “And now after immense diplomatic efforts, I am laying the groundwork for applying Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley as our eastern defensive wall, and after that, over all the settlements, and over other vital areas, inside the [settlement] blocs and outside the blocs. And all that, I want to do together with President Trump.” Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Netanyahu later said that he planned to declare Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley immediately but that Israel’s attorney general told him that he did not have that authority until after the election. Reported by Fox News. Read more…

Arab leaders denounced Netanyahu’s plan, saying it would “kill all chances for peace.” The Arab League held an emergency session after Netanyahu announced the plan. About his plan, Netanyahu said that “We haven’t had this kind of opportunity since the [1967] six-day war, and may not have it again for another 50 years.” The Arab League said, “The league regards these statements as undermining the chances of any progress in the peace process and will torpedo all its foundations.” Ayman Safadi, Jordan’s foreign minister called Netanyahu’s announcement an election ploy and a “dangerous escalation that shatters the foundations of the peace process.” Reported by The Guardian. Read more…

Prior to the election, New Right candidate Naftali Bennett revealed a map that he claimed showed the long-delayed Trump peace plan’s scheme for dividing the West Bank between Israel and the Palestinians. The map shows what Bennett calls “islands” of Jewish settlements in a sea of Palestinian territory. Bennett slammed the plan as “hell” for Israelis living in the West Bank. Revealing the plan on Facebook, Bennett wrote, “Folks, it’s time to reveal: This is the ‘Islands Plan’ of the deal of the century, which will be imposed on us right after the elections.” Bennett also wrote, “In black — Palestine. In white, isolated Israeli ‘islands’ in an ocean of Palestine, surrounded 360 degrees by Hamas, Tanzim, PLO.” Bennett called the plan a de facto end of the settlement enterprise. Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more… 

Netanyahu, speaking later in the day, said he planned to annex additional “vital” parts of the West Bank beyond the Jordan Valley. He did not elaborate on what he meant by “vital” parts, and, when asked about Bennett’s map, called it “fake news.” Reported by The Times of Israel. Read more…