Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Tuesday he does not believe Israeli soldiers will remain in the Jordan Valley if there are no Israeli citizens living there.
"I'm a man [who believes in] settlements," he said. "Where Jews don't live, there is no security."
The defense minister's comments come amid reports that US Secretary of State John Kerry offered to maintain Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley for ten years following the signing of a peace accord with the Palestinians.
Ya'alon also addressed the Sunday night incident in which a rogue Lebanese soldier shot and killed St.-Sgt. Maj. Shlomi Cohen
, saying he will be put on trial by the Lebanese army.
In a meeting with UNIFIL officials, Lebanese officers briefed their IDF counterparts on the results of their investigation of the soldier, saying he acted on his own accord.
The Lebanese army is expected to update the IDF on the case.
Cohen, 31, from Afula, was killed by cross-border gunfire while driving in an army vehicle 50 meters from the Lebanese border near Rosh Hanikra on Sunday night.
He was carrying out an official mission near an IDF border post, when six to seven shots struck him and the jeep, critically injuring him. He succumbed to his injuries soon after being rushed to the Nahariya Hospital for the Western Galillee.