Ya'alon slams PM's settlement evacuation statements

Deputy prime minister says Jordan Valley must not be left under patrol of IDF, should retain citizen, agricultural presence for Israeli sovereignty.

yaalon great 311 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yaalon great 311
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon slammed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday over his speech at the summer session opening in the Knesset Monday, saying Israel cannot evacuate settlements in the Jordan Valley and leave it under IDF patrol only.
Speaking from the prearranged "Jordan Valley: An Israeli Success Story" forum, Ya'alon criticized Netanyahu's suggestion that a permanent solution with the Palestinians would include "a long military presence of the IDF along the Jordan river," which means residential or agricultural settlements from the same area would need to be cleared.
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MKs from the Left and Right agreed that Netanyahu's summer session opening speech was a rare move leftward, with Netanyahu stressing that Israel maintain sovereignty over large settlement blocs and not the more isolated West Bank communities.
In reaction,Ya'alon commented that the Jordan Valley must remain "under Israeli sovereignty in the broadest sense of the word." The Likud minister added that a sole military presence in the area cannot be sustainable, and that the Zionist movement explicitly states that for Israeli sovereignty to exist there must be a citizen presence.
The deputy prime minister equated territory and land with security.
Referring to the Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip under former prime minister Ariel Sharon, Ya'alon said that "experience with the Palestinians has shown that when land is returned to the Palestinians it in turn becomes utilized for terror and rockets."
Gil Hoffman and Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.