Jordan’s FM warns annexation would end chances for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Ayman Safadi says such a move would ‘kill’ the two-state solution; Jordanian PM says Amman turning to the international community to preserve the possibility of peace

By ADAM RASGON, TOI 23 January 2020,

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a joint conference with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 6, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a joint conference with Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit in the Jordanian capital Amman on January 6, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi warned on Thursday that Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley would spell the death of the two-state solution and terminate all opportunities to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

“Israel annexing the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea in the occupied Palestinian territories will totally undermine the foundations of the peace process, kill the two-state solution and end all chances to achieve peace,” Safadi told the Jordanian state-run Petra news agency.

Safadi’s comment came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Tuesday to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley as well as every settlement in the West Bank “without exception.”

Since September, the prime minister has frequently said that if he succeeds in forming a new government, he will annex the Jordan Valley.

The top Jordanian diplomat’s statement also came after Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s main rival, promised on Tuesday to apply sovereignty over the Jordan Valley “in coordination with the international community.”

Netanyahu’s Likud and Gantz’s Blue and White are competing against each other in the national elections on March 2. Both men appear to be making comments about annexation of the Jordan Valley to curry favor with right-wing voters.

The overwhelming majority of the international community has long opposed Israel applying its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and called for the advancement of a two-state solution.

A Bedouin shepherd walks with his herd of sheep in the Jordan Valley in the West Bank on September 11, 2019. (AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

The Jordan Valley, where 10,000 settlers and 80,000 Palestinians reside, makes up nearly 30 percent of the West Bank. Jewish settlers and Palestinians farm the area, growing fruits and vegetables.

The Ramallah-based Palestinian leadership has long called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, comprising the Jordan Valley, the rest of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz said on Wednesday that Jordan was turning to the international community to preserve the possibility of Israel and the Palestinians achieving peace.

“This year, Israel has witnessed and we have witnessed three elections without clear outcome[s]. Both parties are appealing to the right-wing that does not believe in a Palestinian state,” Razzaz told Bloomberg on the sidelines of the annual gathering of the World Economic Forum in Davos. “So we are appealing to the world to not let this door and possibility for a true, lasting peace get closed.”

The March vote will be the third round of national elections to take place in Israel in the past year. Following elections in April and September, no party succeeded in forming a governing coalition.

January 24, 2020 | 6 Comments » | 358 views

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6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. The agreement should be trashed and one written by someone (not a fool who wrote the current one) in Israel’s best interests. Change all the Jordan river crossings to Israeli/Jewish names, return T. M. to full 100% Jewish/Israeli control, return say a 50 k width east side of the dead sea and Jordan river that contains Jewish holy sites to Israel. Then once you’re starved of water, gas, hydro. Then you will realise how good it was.

  2. I thought there were about 5,000 Arabs living in the Jordan Valley, not 80,000. Ted, according to your sources, what are the true figures?

  3. @ Adam Dalgliesh?:
    “According to the left-wing anti-settlement NGO Peace Now, the area specified by Netanyahu for Israeli sovereignty, amounts to 22.3% of the West Bank. It encompasses 30 settlements and 23 outposts, which are home to a total 12,778 Israelis, Peace Now said, citing 2017 data from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics.”

    According to the New Worl Encyclop[eria, as of 2007, Jericho had a Arab population of 19,000. That could be 40,000 today.

    I think that when Bibi started talking about annexing the Jordan Valley he said there were 40,000 Arabs there but that didn’t include the 40,000 living in Jericho.

    I think Jericho is designated as an Area A.

  4. @ Ted Belman:You are correct Jericho is in Area A and would not have Israeli law applied to it. It is also home by far to the largest Arab population in the Jordan Valley. When estimates of the Arab population of the Jordan Valley are given they include Jericho. No real census has been done for a long time.

    A lot of the Jordan Valley is farm land and military bases. It is very sparsely populated.

    The following are estimates Most Arabs live in Jericho or nearby villages.

    As of 2009, Approximately 58,000 Palestinians in total live in the part of the valley that lies in the West Bank in about twenty permanent communities, mostly concentrated in the city of Jericho and communities in the greater Jericho area in the south of the valley. Of these, approximately 10,000 live in area C administers by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, including approximately 2,700 people who live in small Bedouin and herding communities.[10]

    Inside pre-1967 borders, 17,332 Israelis live in the independent municipality of Beit She’an, 12,000 live in 24 communities in Valley of Springs Regional Council that are located in the valley. An additional 12,400 live in 22 communities in the Emek HaYarden Regional Council whose southern half is in the valley.

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