Netanyahu pushes for approval of Israeli Sovereignty to Jordan Valley after US policy shift

November 21, 2019 by Arye Green -TPS
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has approved the advancement of a bill to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley following the US State Department’s announcement that it no longer views Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as illegal under international law, the lawmaker who formulated the bill says.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a statement to the press after a security cabinet meeting following the escalation of violence in with the Gaza Strip, in Tel Aviv on Nov. 12, 2019. Photo by Miriam Alster/Flash90.

“The historic decision by the American administration from yesterday hands us a unique opportunity to set Israel’s eastern border and annex the Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu said in a video posted on Twitter.

Likud Member of Knesset (MK) Sharren Haskel, who proposed the sovereignty bill several weeks ago, said she will attempt to expedite the legislation in light of the change in US policy, with Netanyahu’s support.

“President Trump once again proved the wonderful friendship between the US and Israel when he declared that communities in Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley do not violate international law. This is an opportunity to promote my law which applies sovereignty in the valley. I requested to vote on the law next week with the backing of the prime minister,” she tweeted.

In early September, Netanyahu announced that he would apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley if he were voted in again as prime minister. However, so far no government has been formed, and the Israeli political system has remained in gridlock.  There is still no clear path to establish a stable government.

Blue and White also included the application of Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan valley in its election platform. However, it is unclear whether they will support expediting the legislation and vote in favor of the historic law.

The uncertain political landscape puts the implementation of the sovereignty plan into question.

The law has a good chance of passing if a unity government is formed or if MK Avigdor Liberman joins with Likud to form a right-wing government. If Blue and White establishes a left-wing government with the support of the Arab-majority Joint List party, the bill will likely fail.

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