By MORDECHAI I. TWERSKY
Dr. Uzi Landau, Israel’s Minister of National Infrastructure, warns that in the event of a unilateral United Nations declaration of a Palestinian state, he will call upon Israel to annex the Jordan Valley and large, Jewish populated blocs in the West Bank:
“We’ll have to take care of our interests,” Landau told Inside Israel’s Mordechai I. Twersky in a wide-ranging interview April 21. “We’ll have to take protect ourselves. If such a thing happens, I’m going to suggest to my government to extend out sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and over the highly-populated blocs we have in Judea and Samaria, just to start with.”
The former chairman of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee invoked the Bush Road Map and a letter of commitment issued by the former president committing to Israel’s retention of major Jewish population centers in the West Bank in any negotiated settlement with the Palestinians. If that signed agreement can’t be honored, he said, all bets are off.
“If we don’t see negotiations, and if we do a policy which basically makes the entire Road Map agreement a hoax, Israel should take care of its own interests,” said Minister Landau.
Landau said the Arab Spring has brought chaos to the Middle east, and could well spread to the important western allies of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. He questioned the logic of Israel signing a peace deal with a Palestinian leader, whose own future and that of his government, remains tenuous at best.
“Who knows what’s going to happen in the future to any agreement we sign with, let’s say, another chief of tribe in Judea and Samaria?” asked Minister Landau. “Today it’s Abu Mazen (Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas). Who is it going to be in the future?”
Landau said the US Administration’s continued insistence that a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is key to wider stability in the region – even in the face of spreading Arab unrest – is incomprehensible.
“This is clearly, totally detached from the present reality of the Middle East,” said Landau. “Anyone who lives here clearly understands that this is totally detached from the Middle East reality.”