OAN Roy Francis
UPDATED 5:45 PM PT – Wednesday, January 11, 2023
Legislation to annex the Jordan Valley, an area in the east of the West Bank that is home to about 30 Jewish communities, will be introduced by an Israeli lawmaker.
Ambassador Danny Danon, a member of the Knesset, plans to introduce the legislation that would incorporate the region that stretches from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea along the Jordan River into the state of Israel.
It is already under Israeli control because it is a part of Area C of the West Bank, but its inhabitants are still subject to Israeli military law.
Since Israel seized control of the West Bank in 1967, Israeli criminal law and several civil laws have only applied to its inhabitants under an emergency measure. The measure had to be renewed every five years because it is not an official part of Israel.
It was eventually extended on Tuesday after it had expired in June 2022. With the passage of Danon’s law, this would no longer be necessary.
“All aspects of the sovereignty of the State of Israel will apply to all areas of Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley, including the industrial areas that serve them, the archaeological sites in the area and the access roads to these areas,” says a draft of the bill.
The bill is applicable to the 22 settlements in the Jordan Valley Regional Council’s service area, seven villages in the Dead Sea Scrolls Regional Council’s service region, and one settlement in the Ma’ale Ephraim Local Council’s service area, as well as 10 nearby localities
An explanation of the law states that the Jordan Valley is “Israel’s eastern security belt” because of its location between Jordan and Palestinian-controlled regions of the West Bank and that it is “of tremendous importance to the State of Israel” historically, militarily, and economically.
After the 1967 Six-Day War in which Israel conquered the West Bank, Yigal Alon, then-Minister of Labor, originally suggested annexing it in a plan. As an annexation under the bill would be a unilateral action made without any existing agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, it is certain to enrage the Palestinians and their leadership.
The 1995 Oslo II Accords, which at the time were intended to be a temporary measure until a definitive two-state deal could be reached, led to the official classification of Judea and Samaria as being portions of Areas A, B, and C, each with its own level of Israeli or Palestinian control.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed for years that the Jordan Valley will be annexed. He emphasized its relevance in 2020 by saying that it would provide the Jewish state some breathing room between its Arab neighbors.
“This is the eastern defensive wall that guarantees that we will never again be a mere few miles wide,” Netanyahu had said.