“If you ask me,” annexation of the Jordan Valley “is one of the things that could be done” within six months, Elkin said.
By World Israel News Staff
If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the chairman of the Likud party, were to retain the premiership for the first six months of a national unity government with the Blue and White parliamentary faction, the accomplishments of such a government coalition could include Israel’s annexation of the Jordan Valley, a Netanyahu confidant said Monday.
A top story in the Israel Hayom daily on Monday is headlined: “Netanyahu’s objective: to apply Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley within about half a year.”
Asked on Kan public radio about the newspaper report, Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin replied that “if you ask me,” annexation of the Jordan Valley “is one of the things that could be done” within six months.
Citing a sympathetic relationship with the Trump administration which Netanyahu has nurtured that has already brought about U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Elkin said that there was now a “rare opportunity that perhaps will never return” to get “quiet” American acceptance of Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley, a territory which – like the Golan Heights – Israel captured during the 1967 war after Arab states had amassed military forces along the borders with the Jewish State.
Elkin is a leading member of the Likud team which has been trying to negotiate the formation of a new government.
Blue and White MK Yehiel Tropper, also interviewed on Kan, said that his faction would support annexation of the Jordan Valley if it is carried out “in coordination with the international community and moderate Arab states.”
Israel risks going to a third parliamentary election within a year if an agreement on who becomes the next prime minister is not agreed upon by the middle of next week. Efforts failed after an April election, and a new coalition has still not been established despite a second nationwide ballot on September 17.
In April, Likud and Blue and White won the same number of seats in the Knesset. In September, Blue and White earned one more than the Likud.
Neither side has a majority in parliament, but together would have 65 seats in the 120-member Knesset.
A major point of contention in coalition negotiations has been the issue of setting up a rotation between Netanyahu and Blue and White leader MK Benny Gantz as prime minister during the term of a unity government.
However, Netanyahu is facing indictments in three alleged cases of corruption, and at least some in Blue and White do not want to sit in a government headed by the incumbent premier unless he is acquitted in the trials which will take place.