The Jordan Valley will be part of Israel in any peace agreement with the Palestinians, Kahol Lavan party leader Benny Gantz vowed on Wednesday on a tour of the valley in which he was joined by other members of his Knesset faction, including Moshe Ya’alon, a former defense minister and, like Gantz, a former army chief of staff.
“The valley is the State of Israel’s eastern protective wall and will always remain under our control,” said Gantz, who called the valley “of vast strategic importance.”
For his part, Ya’alon vowed to maintain Israeli control over the Jordan Valley from the Jordan River to the mountains to the west in the West Bank. “Anyone who understands anything about security knows that the valley has to be an inseparable part of Israel,” he said.
Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the settlement of Efrat in the Gush Etzion bloc of settlements south of Jerusalem and promised that an additional 8,000 homes would be built there in the coming years. “No settlement and no settler will ever be uprooted,” the prime minister said. “We will continue to build Efrat forever.”
On Tuesday, the Israeli security cabinet approved plans for the construction of 715 housing units in Palestinian villages in Area C, the portion of the West Bank under Israeli full Israeli control. It is not clear whether the approvals, the first of their kind since 2016, relate to new housing or to homes that had previously been targeted for demolition.