On June 27, 1967, Israel annexed so-called “East Jerusalem” into the Jerusalem Municipality. This created a united Jerusalem which has stood the test of time. Jerusalem will not and cannot be divided ever again.
In March of 2019, the Trump administration recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
In September of 2019, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that if re-elected, he would annex the Jordan Valley.
The Jordan Valley extends from the place where the Jordan River exits the Sea of Galilee in the north to the end of its course where it flows into the Dead Sea. The Jordan Valley is a natural geologic trough separating Israel from Jordan. It is 120 miles long and six miles wide. It is the lowest valley on the planet. In 1947, the UN Partition Plan assigned the northern half of the Jordan Valley and southern tip to Israel.
The Jordan Valley has tremendous strategic importance to Israel. It is a natural buffer zone that prevents rocket attacks and a tank assault. The Jordan Valley used to be the main launching and staging ground for Arafat’s Fatah terrorists.
In 1967, shortly after the Six Day War, Yigal Allon proposed the Allon Plan, which called for the annexation of the Jordan Valley. Yigal Allon was the Minister of Labor at the time and was most interested in the security aspect of the Jordan Valley. It is also great farmland. Many Labor voters settled in the area.
In 1997, a Jordanian soldier opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls, killing seven. They were visiting the “Island of Peace,” a park on the border of the Jordan Valley which was originally Israeli land but ceded to Jordan for peace. King Hussein made an unprecedented condolence call to the families of the victims. However, to compound the problem, the soldier was released from jail in 2017 and received a “hero’s welcome.”
On November 18, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a historic pronouncement that Israeli “settlements” are “not inconsistent with international law.” He said, in essence, that Israeli “settlements” do not violate international law. In 1981, President Reagan said that the “settlements” were “not illegal.”
President George W. Bush said in a letter to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004 “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949 and all previous efforts to negotiate a two state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo went much further with his declaration. He also, to his credit, did not invoke the notion of a two state solution, which has been an albatross and a grand delusion.
With this background, it is now time to annex the Jordan Valley.
The Jordan Valley comprises 22 percent of Judea and Samaria. Ninety percent of the Jordan Valley is designated Area C as part of the Oslo Accords (under total Israeli control). Annexation is therefore completely and thoroughly realistic. Yes, it will undoubtedly set the tone and stage for future annexations. It is all within keeping reality closer to the forefront. Reality testing is crucial to making peace.
I fully expect Prime Minister Netanyahu to carry out his campaign promise of September 2019 to annex the Jordan Valley. It will be up to President Trump to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, just as he boldly did when he recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Joseph M. Frager is a physician and lifelong activist.