Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Likud ministers on Sunday morning against voting for a bill to annex Jordan Valley settlements, saying such a move could be perceived as provocative and might harm Israel.
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According to a minister present at the closed meeting, Netanyahu said discussing MK Miri Regev’s bill to annex the Jordan Valley at this time might be considered “outrageous” and even cause damage.
The minister told Haaretz that though Netanyahu did not ask his party to vote against the bill, he advised against raising the issue of annexation at this time.
The minister added that Netanyahu told the ministers that peace talks were not nearing completion, and therefore there was no room for such moves, and that any decisions that affect the peace process should go through the government and not through independent legislation by individual members of Knesset.
Hours after the closed Likud meeting, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation convened, and, despite Netanyahu's warning, all Likud ministers in the committee voted for Regev's bill. The bill passed the committee vote 8-3.
Following the vote, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Science and Technology Minister Jacob Perry appealed the vote. Now, this hot potato will return to Netanyahu, who will have to find a way to freeze the bill and prevent it from reaching the Knesset plenum, where the government would vote on the issue.