The Jordan Valley must be placed under Israeli sovereignty, Deputy Foreign
Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) said on Thursday, as he issued a stern message to
visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry against any talk of an Israeli
withdrawal to the pre-1967 “Auschwitz borders.”
“We hear more and more
talk that we will be asked to give up the Jordan Valley,” said Elkin, hours
before Kerry met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to discuss details of a
final status agreement for a two-state solution.
Out of sensitivity to
Kerry’s two-day visit, Netanyahu agreed to hold off on announcing any new
building over the pre-1967 lines.
But politicians representing all the
parties in Netanyahu’s coalition, except for Hatnua, made a solidarity visit to
the Jordan Valley on Thursday.
Many of them, stopped at the Gitit
settlement, located 37 kilometers over the Green Line, to celebrate a building project of 16 new homes in the hilltop community of 300 people.
photographers snapped pictures, Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar (Likud), wearing
a suit and sunglasses, symbolically poured a pail of cement onto the foundation
of a new home.
A number of politicians also planted a tree.
politicians, many from the Knesset Land of Israel lobby group, were greeted by
small children waving Israeli flags and wearing T-shirts that read, “The Jordan
Valley, an Israeli success story.”
The visit, said Elkin, as he stood at
a small podium specially set up for the event, “is the right act at the right
He said that when Kerry and Netanyahu speak of the Jordan Valley,
“this tour will have sent a clear message.”
In Jerusalem, Netanyahu said,
“I will never compromise on the security of Israel and its citizens, or on the
vital interests that protect our future.”
Elkin, however, said that the
Jordan Valley was essential for Israel’s security, and that Kerry’s attempt to
safeguard Israel without it is futile.
“There is no terminology that can
marry the ‘67 borders and security. There is only one answer to any suggestion
to this effect and that is: No,” said Elkin.
At one time, he said, there
was a clear consensus, in support of the Jordan Valley, on the Israeli Right and
Left, Elkin said.
Former Labor prime minister Yitzhak Rabin believed
Israel should retain the valley, Elkin said. “With his opinions, he could not
have been chosen [party leader] in the Labor primary. He was not willing
to let go of the Jordan Valley. He was not prepared to accept the 67
Elkin emphasized that “‘67 borders are Auschwitz borders,”
quoting former foreign minister Abba Eban, who served in both the Mapai and
“We are interested in continuing with the negotiations. It
is right to speak with our neighbors. But in order to continue the
[talks] we can’t be asked to give up on things critical for Israel’s security,”
Sa’ar thanked the residents of Gitit for helping secure the
State of Israel.
Looking out at the residents who had come to listen to
the parliamentarians, he said, “we have come here to strengthen you in your
mission as our emissaries.”
“The question is, where will Israel’s eastern
border be? At the Jordan River or God forbid, near Netanya or Kfar Saba,” Sa’ar
“Israel won’t have any strategic depth without the Jordan Valley,”
“It’s clear that if the settlements are not there, then the IDF
won’t be there. And if the IDF isn’t there then terror will be there,” Sa’ar
said. “It is wrong to precondition peace on the withdrawal of Jewish
settlements. This can not bring peace.”
MK Miri Regev (Likud) thanked
Sa’ar for his support of her bill to annex the Jordan Valley, which on Sunday
passed its first legislative hurdle before being stymied by Justice Minister
Tzipi Livni (Yesh Atid).
She called Sa’ar the “leader of the Right” and
that it was clear to her that the legislation would not have passed without his
Regev called Livni a “cry-baby” for appealing the
“Now Gideon you have a mission to ensure that the appeal is
withdrawn,” she said.
The sky did not fall in the past when Israel
annexed the Golan Heights and east Jerusalem and it won’t fall if Israel annexes
the Jordan Valley, the MK added.
MK Tzipi Hotovely reminded everyone that
the larger issue was retaining all the settlements in Judea and Samaria and not
just the Jordan Valley.
Coalition chairman MK Yariv Levin said it was
important to remember that the primary issue was also Israel’s right to the land
over the pre-1967 lines, and not just the security issues related to the Jordan
“We are here with a clear message for the prime minister. You
have a strong coalition to preserve the Jordan Valley,” Levin said.
in the day, the Bayit Yehudi party published a satirical video on YouTube
against US plans for the Jordan Valley, done as if it was for an upcoming summer
action film, called “American Bluff.”
It said, “They have blocked Iran’s
nuclear program, ended the civil war in Syria and brought peace to the streets
of Egypt. Now they are coming back… “This summer Israel can forget about Iron
Dome, give up deterrent force and stop their prayers, because the United
States of America will protect the Valley,” states the video.
with the words, “only the IDF can protect the state of Israel.”