Netanyahu's Annexation Promise Would 'Kill the Peace Process,' Jordan Says

Palestinian president, Arab League, UN spokesman also condemn prime minister's declaration of plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to part of West Bank

Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to the press on September 10, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

Jordan condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's vow to annex the Jordan Valley on Tuesday, with Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi calling it a violation of international law that would "kill the peace process and undermine the right of the region and its peoples to achieve peace."

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that all agreements with Israel would be canceled if Israel applies sovereignty to the Jordan Valley or any other part of the West Bank. 

The Arab League also condemned Netanyahu's remarks as "a serious development and an Israeli aggression" that, if carried out, amount to "an Israeli declaration for the end of the peace process."

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Stephane Dujarric, a United Nations spokesman, said Tuesday that the organization maintains that any Israeli move to impose its administration over the Palestinian territory "would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations, regional peace and the very essence of a two-state solution."

A U.S. official meanwhile said that U.S. policy has remained unchanged. "There is no change in United States policy at this time," a Trump administration official said when asked whether the White House supported Netanyahu's move.

"We will release our Vision for Peace after the Israeli election and work to determine the best path forward to bring long sought security, opportunity and stability to the region."

The Jordan Valley stretches from the Dead Sea in the south to the Israeli city of Beit Shean in the north, bordering Jordan in the east. The 2,400 square kilometer (926.65 square mile) valley accounts for nearly 30 percent of the territory in the West Bank. Israel has long said it intends to maintain military control there under any peace agreement with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu said on Tuesday he would extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dea Sea if reelected next week. 

Speaking to the press a week before the election, Netanyahu also said that the Trump administration's peace plan, which he said would be released days after the election, would provide a "historic opportunity" for annexing the West Bank.