Liberman: Applying sovereignty over Jordan Valley is the answer to Palestinian terrorism

The remarks came ahead of a bill that Yisrael Beytenu will present to the Knesset on Wednesday.

By World Israel News Staff

Applying sovereignty over the Jordan Valley is the answer to Palestinian terrorism, Yisrael Beitenu party chair Avigdor Liberman said ahead of a bill he is slated to present on the matter on Wednesday.

“These areas enjoy a very broad national consensus, going back decades,” Liberman said in an interview with Israel National News. “This area is of great strategic importance, especially given the recent rise in terrorist activity in the Jericho and Jordan Valley area.”

Earlier this month, Liberman tweeted: “The answer to the wave of terrorism and instability in the Palestinian Authority should be clear – the application of Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley.”

The Yisrael Beitenu head, who sits in the opposition, slammed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for neglecting the plan to apply Israeli law to the area, which was one of the prime minister’s stated campaign commitments. Netanyahu had called the strategic valley a “key defensive wall in the east”.

“The only thing that is complicating matters is a prime minister who keeps getting himself embroiled in one mess after another,” Liberman said.

Addressing missile attacks from Gaza and an ongoing wave of Palestinian terrorism, including a shooting attack two weeks ago in the Jordan Valley that claimed the life of 26-year-old U.S. citizen Elan Ganeles, Liberman continued:

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“What does Netanyahu do? He begs [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] to keep things quiet and then meets with the Jordanians in Aqaba and promises to transfer tax revenues to the PA, taxes levied at the Allenby Bridge. When I served as Finance Minister under [Yair] Lapid, I refused to transfer even a dime of those tax revenues, despite the pressure he brought to bear on me,” Liberman told the outlet.

Almost 13,000 Israelis live in the Jordan Valley, along with around 50,000 Palestinians. According to Liberman’s proposal, the Palestinian population would be offered Israeli citizenship.

“Of course, whoever wants to remain a citizen of the Palestinian Authority has the right to do so,” he said.

Asked by Israel National News whether it was wise to give tens of thousands of Palestinians full rights as Israeli citizens, Liberman responded:

“We already have this problem with not just tens but hundreds of thousands [of Arabs] with [Israeli] blue identity cards in the Jerusalem area. Nonetheless, we have to make a decision; it’s a matter of priorities. And right now, with all the unrest, with diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia and Jordan at the strategic security level, the Jordan Valley is extremely important. I’m not even saying anything controversial here.”

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According to Liberman, the move “should begin with a preliminary vote in the Knesset and only then explain our position to the international community.”

“We are constantly scaring ourselves about possible consequences, and we shouldn’t be afraid,” he said.
“We need to be consistent and determined. In the past, when I was in the opposition, I told Netanyahu to submit a bill and we would support it. But this government is all talk and no action.”

In January, another bill presented by Likud MK Danny Danon was rejected in a ministerial committee vote.

At the time, Netanyahu told USA Today that he would not make such a move without “the understanding and support of the United States.”

The Biden administration has made it clear that it opposes any such action on Israel’s part.

The Sovereignty Movement, led by Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, is a civilian-led campaign pushing for the inclusion of the Jordan Valley in sovereign Israel and has been gaining steam in recent months. Katsover told World Israel News earlier this year that the time to act was now.

“The Jordan Valley is our longest border that has to be the protective wall of the country. As long as there is no sovereignty, it’s a problem,” she said.

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“Very few Arabs live there, so absorbing them will not change anything demographically for Israel. And there is large consensus in the country for this.”