Abbas: Israel's claim it wants Jordan Valley for security is a lie

PA president reiterates objection to accepting Israel as Jewish state; says “With 40 years in Valley there will be no solution".

Abbas looking unhappy 370 (photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Abbas looking unhappy 370
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
Israel’s claims that it wants to retain control over the Jordan Valley for security reasons is a lie, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Monday.
He reiterated his refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Abbas’s statements were made during a meeting with Fatah leaders in Ramallah.
The statements were published by Abbas’s office on the eve of his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Bethlehem to discuss the crisis in the peace talks with Israel.
Abbas said that Israel wants to retain a presence in the Jordan Valley for economic and not security reasons.
“They [Israel] say they want to stay in the Jordan Valley for 40 years,” Abbas said.
“With 40 years in the Jordan Valley there will be no solution. They say they need the Jordan Valley to protect themselves against the Iranian threat or whoever comes from the eastern border.”
Abbas said that chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat recently accompanied 90 diplomats on a tour of the Jordan Valley where, he added, they found only date fields, artificial lakes for alligators and poultry and turkey farms. Abbas claimed that the alligators were being used for manufacturing shoes and bags.
“This means that the story is not one of security,” Abbas told the Fatah leaders.
“Rather, it is a matter of investment. The Israelis gain an annual profit of $620 million from the Jordan Valley. So the claim that they want to protect their eastern border from Iran and others is all lies.”
Abbas revealed that the Americans had protested against Erekat’s visit, and that he had proposed a deployment of NATO forces to the valley. He pointed out that he had come under attack for declaring his opposition to the presence of a single Israeli on Palestinian territories after an agreement is reached with Israel.
“I was told that this is racist talk,” he added. “I responded that Israelis are welcome to visit us as guests and not as occupiers and soldiers.”
Abbas said that the peace talks with Israel have failed to yield any result on the ground.
“There may be some tensions in the future,” Abbas said. “The reason is that Israel is saying that it needs to increase settlement after the release of Palestinian prisoners.
This means that they are linking settlements to the release of prisoners. This equation could lead to an explosion.The peace talks have not led to any results.”
Abbas reiterated his opposition to demands to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“We don’t accept the Jewish state or the Jewishness of the state,” he emphasized. “This is something that we won’t accept.”