Ayman al-Safadi, Jordanian Foreign Minister_reutersPhoto: Reuters

Widespread criticism of PM’s annexation vow

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi denounced Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s campaign promise to assert Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, deeming it “a catastrophe.”

While Speaking alongside his Luxembourg counterpart Jean Asselborn, the Jordanian top diplomat delivered a veiled threat, that the move will kill the entire regional peace process and likewise destroy the basis of general peace efforts.”We warn that this catastrophic announcement will curb not only the two-state solution, where the whole world agrees that this is the best way to bring about peace and stability, but also will kill the whole peace process and will destroy the basis of peace efforts generally,” al-Safadi said.

Luxemburg’s Foreign Minister also voiced concern over – what he termed as Israel’s– “violation of international law,” and urged the international community to unite to prevent Netanyahu’s pledge. He said: “We have to do everything we can do as I think Arab league, as European Union, as OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), and as international community to avoid this. That is, I think what we have to do now. And, to be clearly outspoken to tell the truth that this would be a violation of international law and if you violate international law there are consequences. That’s, I think, the message we have to give.”

Meanwhile, Dore Gold, the former Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, is insisting that asserting Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley – one of the three West Bank districts – is vital for the security of the Jewish State. According to Gold: “The Jordan Valley is the frontline of Israel’s defense in the east, to the extent that Israel becomes weaker in the east because it doesn’t have the Jordan Valley, it basically invites aggression from more distant aggressors who could potentially invade through that route.”

Netanyahu’s vow to impose Israeli sovereignty if reelected has infuriated the Arab residents of the strategic strip of land, and they say they are committed to using all the tools at their disposal to thwart the move. Hassan Al-Abedi, a Palestinian resident of the Jordan Valley said: “We tell Netanyahu, and whoever follows him, you will not break the Palestinians’ will, you will never break our will, never, never.” While Ismail Hassan, who is also a Palestinian resident of the Jordan Valley commented: “We don’t accept this whether he (Netanyahu) will succeed or not, we don’t accept, this is our land, not Netanyahu’s land. This land is for Palestine, for the Palestinians, not for Israel.”

On the other hand, Israeli residents of the territories in question have voiced both hope for a better future – and skepticism -over the sincerity of the Israeli leader’s intentions of following -through on his pledge. Danny Tayeb, an Israeli Resident of the Jordan Valley said: “It’s a good statement but I don’t believe it. I don’t believe it will happen at all, this is the thing. We reached here and we know that no one in the government cares about the Valley, there is no special emphasis on it, I wish it would happen but I don’t think it will because they don’t have enough courage to do it.” Vered Tayeb, who is also an Israeli Resident of the Jordan Valley expressed her position by saying: “I think it’s about time, it’s blessed that finally it was decided to give our region some attention and answers. It’s one of the most beautiful areas in the world, a place where there is much more to develop. If we will be taken into account so we may look like any other beautiful, touristic place in the country and abroad.”