Ahead of Deal of the Century, cabinet approves establishment of community of Mevo’ot Yeriho

September 16, 2019 by Aryeh Savir - TPS
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The Israeli government on Sunday approved a proposal put forward by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to establish the community of Mevo’ot Yericho, just two days before the elections and after he announced last week he would declare Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley, if reelected.

PM Netanyahu during the special session. (Haim Zach/TPS)

The decision was made during a festive government session held in the Jordan Valley.

Mevo’ot Yericho, situated in the Jordan Valley and in the outskirts the city of Jericho, already exists and the government’s decision gives the community and the construction there proper legal status.

During the government’s meeting, a break was made for consultations between Netanyahu and Meir Ben-Shabbat, head of the National Security Council, regarding the urgency in deciding on the establishment of the community.

As part of the consultation, Attorney General Avichai Mendelbliet was presented with news about a recent diplomatic development from the past 24 hours, together with the prime minister’s assessment that there is an urgency in the decision to establish the community immediately, a spokesperson said.

Under these circumstances, and in light of the special urgency, the Attorney General ruled that although there are considerable legal difficulties with the decision because of its proximity to the elections and as it may appear as a campaign ploy, the decision was valid.

One report says that Mendelbliet was told that the Deal of the Century, President Donald Trump’s diplomatic plan for the Middle East, will be published in the coming days, and hence the urgency.

Speaking at the special session, Netanyahu remarked on Israeli sovereignty in the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea and said that as he had announced a few days ago, “we will apply this sovereignty as soon as the next government is established, in the next Knesset.”

“It’s not just the eastern gate of the State of Israel, it’s a protective wall from the east, because the Jordan Valley, along with the territories that overlook it, which will be part of the State of Israel, guarantee that the IDF will be here forever. Instead of having a state several miles wide, it’s a country with strategic depth and strategic height,” he stated.

On applying Israeli sovereignty to all of the Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, Netanyahu said such a move would include all existing communities and “other areas that are essential to Israel’s security and heritage.”

“These things will come up in the Deal of the Century plan, it will come very soon after the election,” he said.

In his statement, Netanyahu essentially made clear that any areas that were not currently inhabited by Israelis, would become Palestinian territory.

Hananel Dorany, head of the Yesha Council, the umbrella organization for communities in Judea and Samaria, congratulated Netanyahu and the ministers for this move.

“The strategic importance of the communities in the Jordan Valley is paramount. This is an important day for the Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria, and we hope that this is just the beginning of the road to sovereignty in all of Judea and Samaria,” he stated.

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