Why the Jordan Valley is so important to the Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened to annex a quarter of the occupied West Bank

Jordan Valley

The National reports:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday went a step closer to annexing the occupied West Bank, saying he would place the Jordan Valley under Israeli sovereignty if he won the country’s repeat election on September 17.  Mr Netanyahu, standing in front of a blue-shaded territory plastered on a whiteboard map, called it a “one-time opportunity” to redesign Israel’s borders and further the right wing’s plan for a “Greater Israel”, with support from Washington.

That blue area makes up about a quarter of the occupied West Bank, a territory Israel captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.  Israel controls about 90 per cent of it already but the world rejects its claims to the territory, calling it an illegal occupation under international law.

Israel regards the area as vital to its security as it sits along the border with Jordan, preventing attacks from the east and ensuring that any Palestinian territories remain demilitarised.  It makes up the eastern edge of the West Bank and runs about 300 kilometres from the Sea of Galilee in the north along the Jordan River down to the Dead Sea on the border.  …. ….

But all of this comes at the expense of Palestinian hopes for statehood. The occupied West Bank would be the key part of any sovereign Palestinian state.  Jericho, the valley’s main population centre, would be encircled by Israeli territory, and the rest of the occupied West Bank would be surrounded by Israel to the east and west.

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