Sharren Haskel's plan for sovereignty over the Jordan Valley

In her proposed legislation, MK Haskel detailed the process of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and northern Samaria in a number of key phases

Likud MK Sharren Haskel participating in a panel in Germany (photo credit: Courtesy)
Likud MK Sharren Haskel participating in a panel in Germany
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Currently, in the midst of the election season and  with the possibility that the political window of opportunity will close if the Trump era is over by the end of the current year, the discourse on sovereignty over the Jordan Valley is becoming the key discourse in the political and diplomatic sphere, but already more than three years ago, MK Sharren Haskel (of the Likud) proposed legislation to apply Israeli law over this area. She speaks of her stymied efforts.
In her proposed legislation, Member of Knesset Haskel detailed the process of sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and northern Samaria in a number of key phases. The wording of the legislation was cautious, she says, in order to allow freedom to the committee that was to discuss the implementation of the proposal.
The first phase toward sovereignty in the Jordan Valley touches on the practical application of Israeli law in this area. This would mean setting up police stations, regulating matters relating to water, electricity, National Insurance, HMOs and other such institutions. Later on, she explains, the status of temporary residency would be given to about 8000 to 18000 of the Arabs who live in the villages, aside from Jericho, which is located in Area A, meaning that is under the full responsibility of the PA. “A period of 5-7 years will be given for those who receive temporary residency to adjust, at the end of which, they will be able to seek permanent residency if they have not committed crimes. When 5 to 7 years have passed they will be able to seek citizenship with the condition that they have not committed crimes or security trespasses.”
In the preliminary phase, says Haskel, “Anyone seeking permanent residency that has committed a crime would be subject to the law of exile to Area A or the territory of Gaza.”
Haskel’s attempts  to promote the proposed legislation were blocked in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation. “Each time, the Prime Minister's Office requested more time to discuss the matter. They explained that it was because of pressure and problems in the international sphere, until we finally got the green light."
Haskel says that as part of her efforts to obtain a board agreement in the Knesset for her proposal, she tried to enlist the aid of MKs from Yesh Atid, but was rejected. Memories of this rejection cause her to doubt the seriousness of the Blue and White’s people as they now declare their loyalty to the Jordan Valley and promise to promote the application of sovereignty in this area.
However, she believes that now there is an opportunity for change.  "Now there is a totally different international atmosphere and situation. There is backing from Trump. There was an American green light for the step. All of the reservations in the Prime Minister’s Office and of Ayelet Shaked who stood at the head of the Ministerial Committee for Legislation, have disappeared below the horizon. So the sense is that in the coalition we will be able to promote the process."
A grand vision against petty politics
In order to try to promote the process even during this complex period of the absence of a permanent government, Haskel has tried to take advantage of the opportunity provided by MK Avi Nisenkoren, head of the Knesset Arrangements Committee in the transitional Knesset, to seek an exemption from the obligation to present MK (Yisrael Beytenu) Oded Furer’s law formally, and requested the same exemption to shorten the legislative process with her proposed legislation for Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley as well, but “when Nisenkoren saw that it was our request, he stalled Furer's request as well and stopped the discussion that was scheduled for the next morning.”
In this way, Haskel’s proposed legislation was frozen again with what is accepted in the Knesset as a gentlemen’s agreement between the coalition and the opposition, by which it is agreed that neither side gets to advance their legislation during this period. In light of those political processes, “we still have a way to go before the proposed legislation gets to the plenum, but when it gets to the plenum, the expectation is that everyone who declared that he supports the Jordan Valley will stand behind his word. This would be Gantz, Amir Peretz and the Labor Party. It would be possible to hope for a majority of almost a hundred members of Knesset. You wouldn’t expect them to back out now, but we may imagine that the reality will be a little different," says Haskel in a serious tone, aware of the power struggles in the area in which she operates.
And just to remove any doubt, Haskel emphasizes that the process in the Jordan Valley is only a first step of sovereignty, while the goal is sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria.
Published in Sovereignty Supplement and sponsored by Women in Green