Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues his long track record of attempting to out-hawk all political opponents, announcing on Tuesday his intention of annexing parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, if re-elected.
“I will not do anything without getting a clear mandate from the public, and so the citizens of Israel, I ask you for a clear mandate to do this,” Netanyahu said while campaigning ahead of the September 17 election. “This is a historic opportunity to apply sovereignty to communities in Judea and Samaria.”
During the unveiling of his provocative plan, which he said would be accomplished in coordination with the US, he pointed to a map of the Jordan Valley, claiming also Israel could bring its sovereignty over the land but without annexing “a single Palestinian”.
“There is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do something with broad consensus and bring safe permanent borders to the State of Israel. This will ensure that Judea and Samaria do not become Gaza, and that Kfar Saba, Netanya and Tel Aviv will not become like communities along the border of Gaza,” he said.
Annexing the Jordan Valley is reportedly consistent with the Trump administration’s grand plan for Mideast peace. “There is no change in the United States policy at this time,” the White House said in a statement. “We will release our vision for peace after the Israeli election and work to determine the best path forward to bring long-sought security, opportunity and stability to the region.”
However, it’s likely that the result of such a plan as Israeli annexation of West Bank settlements would end in anything but “peace” and “stability”.
Netanyahu in his speech noted that he would wait to initiate such an ambitious plan until after Trump’s “Deal of the Century” is revealed. But the Israeli prime minister – who is seeking election to a record fifth term this month – spoke as if the White House was on board with his vision.
“I request a mandate to apply Jewish sovereignty to all communities, and I intend to do so in coordination with the United States,” he said.
Meanwhile, The Jerusalem Post quoted a Palestinian official who said any Israeli attempt at realizing Netanyahu’s plan would without question be a “declaration of war”.