Liberman to PM: Hold Jordan Valley vote now to show you're serious
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Blue and White head Benny Gantz are on their way to Washington to hear details of the plan from Trump in separate meetings.
By TOVAH LAZAROFF
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should show that he is serious about annexing the Jordan Valley by his actions now, Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman said on Sunday.He visited the region in advance of the publication of US President Donald Trump’s peace plan, known as the “Deal of the Century,” which is expected to allow for Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley.Netanyahu and his chief political rival, Blue and White head Benny Gantz, are on their way to Washington to hear details of the plan from Trump in separate meetings.“Bibi, instead of being photographed there, legislate here,” Liberman tweeted in the evening.Until Netanyahu and Gantz were invited to Washington, Netanyahu had appeared to be bowing to right-wing pressure to apply sovereignty to the Jordan Valley with a cabinet vote on Sunday and a Knesset vote on Tuesday. But all that activity was put on hold because of the Washington trip.“There is an absolute majority to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley. The law can be passed in one day, as [former prime minister] Menachem Begin did when he passed the Golan Heights Law [in 1981],” Liberman tweeted.“Better a bird in hand than two in the bush,” he added.In the Jordan Valley, Liberman charged that the Washington trip was a public relations stunt to avoid bringing the Jordan Valley annexation to a vote.“In the end, there will be all sorts of excuses,” as to why Jordan Valley sovereignty does not come up for a vote next week, Liberman continued.If Netanyahu does not hold the vote next week, “That means only one thing,” Liberman said: That in the end, “there will not be Israeli sovereignty, here or anywhere,” Liberman said.He noted that already last year his party had attempted to push forward a bill for Jordan Valley sovereignty.Yisrael Beytenu will support any initiative that will transform the Jordan Valley into an integral part of Israel, Liberman said.“We hope that this week or maximum next week, as the prime minister has promised, this law will come to a vote in the Knesset,” Liberman said.Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan also visited the West Bank on Sunday, where he helped open a fire station in Ma’aleh Adumim, the third largest settlement, which is home to 38,000 residents.“Ma’aleh Adumim is an integral part of the State of Israel and will remain so,” Erdan said.He said there can be no doubt about its importance and its place in Israeli society.“Strengthening sovereignty and security in Judea and Samaria is the basis for any ‘Deal of the Century,’” Erdan said.The inauguration of the fire station has strengthened Israel’s hold on Ma’aleh Adumim and its “justification for applying Israeli law to it in the near future, together with the application of the law to all the Jewish settlements,” Erdan said.Palestinian threats over the “Deal of the Century,” will not deter Israel fulfilling this objective, Erdan said. Nor is the plan grounds for “violence or terrorism” against Israel, he added.Israel security forces are prepared for any scenario, including in Jerusalem as a whole and the Temple Mount in particular, he said.