Jordan rejects any Israeli West Bank annexation steps

The importance of sovereignty in the coalition talks between Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has kept the topic in the headlines.

THE JORDAN VALLEY – calls to annex it are a provocative political act (photo credit: REUTERS)
THE JORDAN VALLEY – calls to annex it are a provocative political act
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jordan “rejects any Israeli step to annex occupied Palestinian lands,” its Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told his French counterpart Jean Yves Le Drian, as Israeli coalition talks appear to keep the door open for such a move as early as this summer.
He tweeted about the conversation and his opposition to Israeli annexation moves in Area C of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley.
It was his second such tweet this week. In the aftermath of a conversation with PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat, Safadi tweeted that the international community must halt any Israeli annexation plans.
The importance of sovereignty in the coalition talks between Blue and White Party head Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has kept the topic in the headlines, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, 11 members of the US Congress issued a statement against such a move. This included Representatives Alan Lowenthal and Barbara Lee off California and David Price of North Carolina.
“Amidst the current global health pandemic and financial crisis, we urge all parties involved in the formation of a new government not to create an additional crisis by agreeing to move forward with unilateral annexation, the effects of which could yield additional catastrophic consequences for all parties in the region and beyond,” the representatives said.
“At this sensitive and critical time, we support a return to a two-state framework and urge all parties to refrain from commitments or actions, such as unilateral annexation, that undermine the possibility of serious, good faith, bilateral negotiations, which still represent the surest path to a durable peace,” they added.
The American Jewish organization the Israel Policy Forum sent a letter against annexation to Gantz and the second top politician in the party MK Gabi Ashkenazi. Among the signatories were Charles Bronfman, Lester Crown and two former chairs of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations Alan Solow and Robert Sugarman.
“To unilaterally move forward with such a plan now would be particularly damaging. It will call into question the Israeli government’s priorities during a global and national emergency… rather than highlight valiant Israeli efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine, or laudable Israeli cooperation with the Palestinians on health and safety measures, and could create a rupture inside of Congress and in the upcoming presidential campaign during a volatile election season,” they wrote.
The US Jewish leaders warned that such a move would alienate the majority of American Jews and would make it “more challenging for American Jewish leaders as they seek to maintain strong support for Israel and pro-Israel policies at this time.”
Under the terms of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, Israel can apply sovereignty to 30% of the West Bank in Area C. It’s a move that would include all the West Bank settlements and the regions of the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea.
Israel can apply that sovereignty in advance of any peace deal with the Palestinians to resolve the conflict. The Trump administration however wants Israel to wait until completion of a joint US-Israeli mapping process. Netanyahu is under pressure to apply that sovereignty now, out of a fear that a Trump loss in the November 2020 US presidential election would make it more difficult to apply sovereignty to the West Bank settlements.