Israel: Government MP is preparing bill to annex the Jordan Valley
An Israeli MP in the governing coalition said earlier this week that he is working on proposing a bill to annex the Jordan Valley, which constitutes about 30 percent of the occupied West Bank.
The bill by Danny Danon, who previously served as Israel's ambassador to the UN, intends to achieve the "full application of Israeli law to all areas of the Jordan Valley", including industrial and archaeological sites as well as main roads, Jewish News website reported on Wednesday.
"The annexation of the Jordan Valley is a significant issue for Israel from an historical, economical as well as crucially, from a security perspective. We know that there is support for the application of Israel's sovereignty of the Jordan Valley, both in the government's coalition as well as in the opposition," Danon said.
"I am optimistic that many MKs on both sides of the aisle will voice their support. There is no better time to apply sovereignty and we must join forces to do so imminently," he added.
It was not clear when the bill would be proposed to the Israeli parliament, or Knesset.
Danon is a member of the Likud party, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who formed what many consider to be the most right-wing government in Israeli history in December, including ministers living in illegal settlements in the West Bank.
In the new government's policy guidelines, Netanyahu promised to "promote and develop settlement" in the West Bank, the Galilee and the Negev.
He said that the "Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the land of Israel", including the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Nearly 700,000 settlers are living in more than 250 settlements and outposts across the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.
Netanyahu attempted to annex the Jordan Valley in the summer of 2020, but backtracked on the plan after pressure from western countries and objections from Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The Palestinians consider the Jordan Valley, which is rich in minerals, water and arable lands, as part of their future state. Annexing the area by Israel is seen as a major blow to any hope of a two-state solution.
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