Benjamin Netanyahu announces that if reelected, he will extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, September 10 2019
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI)
Senior White House officials told Channel 13 on Wednesday that the Trump administration is opposed to any unilateral moves by Israel, including annexing the Jordan Valley, before America rolls out its “Deal of the Century” peace plan.
“The United States has made its objections clear, and the Israeli government is fully aware of this,” the officials told Channel 13.
They spoke to the news station amid reports that Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu was weighing bringing Jordan Valley annexation to the cabinet for a vote on Sunday and then on to the Knesset for ratification on Tuesday.
It likely that there enough support to pass the measure.
Netanyahu has spoken of Jordan Valley annexation since the summer and it has been presumed that the Trump administration would support such a move or at the very least not oppose it. He has also promised to apply sovereignty to all Israeli settlements, located in Area C of the West Bank and to do so with American approval.
Comments made by US officials, particularly US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, have indicated that the Trump peace plan, could place all Israeli settlements under Israeli sovereignty.
A US delegation that includes US Vice President Mike Pence and Trump’s peace team – Jared Kushner, Avi Berkowitz and Brian Hook – is due in Israel this week.
Netanyahu had initially said he would only act on annexation upon formation of a government, but he is under pressure from the right-wing party Yamina headed by Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to take action now. To help force the matter, the party has linked annexation with support for Netanyahu’s quest for parliamentary immunity.
On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority ambassador to the UN in New York Riyad Mansour told the Security Council that immediate action was needed to halt pending Israeli annexation.
All five European members of the council warned Israel against taking such a step: France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Estonia.
UN Special Coordinator to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov tweeted on Wednesday that “the annexation of some or all of Area C in the #WestBank, if implemented, would deal a devastating blow to the potential of reviving #Israeli #Palestinian negotiations, advancing regional #peace, and the essence of the two-state solution. #UN.”