Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the North of Israel with US Ambassador David Friedman and National Security Advisor John Bolton, June 23, 2019.
(photo credit: KOBI GIDON / GPO)
"Loss of Israeli control over the Jordan Valley will lead to war,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday at a graduation ceremony at Hatzerim.
It was his second strong statement this weekend about the security importance of the stretch of West Bank territory between Jerusalem and the country of Jordan. Israel has long claimed that it must retain military control of that area, particularly in light of larger regional threats from Iran.
“Security control of the area West of Jordan will always be in our hands,” Netanyahu said. “We will never abandon our security and we will not hand over its control to any foreign element.
“There are those who say that if we do not hand over the Jordan Valley, there will be no peace. I say: If we deliver the Jordan Valley, war will be assured.”
Netanyahu made similar comments to US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who visited Israel earlier this week. The two men went on a tour of the Jordan Valley.
Bolton assured Netanyahu that he believed that the Jordan Valley was a strategic asset to Israel. But when questioned later by The Jerusalem Post, he urged the public to wait for the roll out of the political aspect of the Trump Peace Plan before commenting on what Israel’s final borders should be.
US President Donald Trump “recently recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and transferred to it the US embassy,” Netanyahu said. He continued to laud Trump for recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan and imposing harsh sanctions on Israel’s existential enemy, Iran.
“There is no limit in our appreciation and thanks,” Netanyahu said.
Israel, however, he said, “must always be prepared” to defend itself by itself against any threats. “This is a fundamental principle that guarantees our future,” Netanyahu said.
He spoke in advance of an important week in Israel with regard to the country's security, in which a trilateral meeting was held between the Israeli, Russian and American national security advisors in advance of a meeting this weekend between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump. It is expected that security in the Middle East and Iran will be among their conversation topics.
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