Palestinian reactions to Netanyahu’s plan for the Jordan Valley ranged from condemnation as “manifestly illegal” to claims it represents “a vision of apartheid.”
By World Israel News Staff and AP
After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamim Netanyahu on Tuesday vowed to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, Palestinian officials and an Arab-Israeli politician slammed the announcement.
Palestinian negotiator and key aide to Mahmoud Abbas, Saeb Erekat, called Netanyahu’s annexation plan “manifestly illegal.”
“Israel’s unprecedented culture of impunity, enabled by international inaction, is the only explanation for Mr. Netanyahu’s audacity in using annexation as an election ploy,” he said, calling on the international community to block the Israeli leader’s plan.
Nearly 700,000 Jewish Israelis live in Judea and Samaria, with many of them living in the areas that will officially come under Israeli sovereignty if Netanyahu makes good on his pledge.
During the announcement, Netanyahu unveiled a map showing his plan for annexing the Jordan Valley, which included linking Palestinian population centers to neighboring Jordan.
Arab-Israeli politician Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List of Arab parties, called Netanyahu’s statement “not just election spin” but “a vision of apartheid.”
During a press conference earlier in the day, Netanyahu said, “Today, I am announcing my intention to apply, with the formation of the next government, Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.”
“This is a historic opportunity, a one-time opportunity, to extend Israeli sovereignty on our settlements in Judea and Samaria, and also on other important regions for our security, for our heritage, and for our future,” he added.
U.S. officials said Netanyahu had told them about his proposal ahead of time and had not raised any objections because they do not think it will affect prospects for an eventual agreement. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media.