Middle East Monitor / January 21, 2020
A senior Blue and White politician has affirmed leader Benny Gantz’s commitment to the annexation of the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank, reported The Jerusalem Post.
Speaking in an interview with the paper on Monday, Moshe Ya’alon, former defence minister and Blue and White number three, claimed that “Gantz is more serious about annexing the Jordan Valley than Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu”.
Ya’alon made the comment when asked about “past claims by both US and Israeli sources that Gantz had been ready to give the Jordan Valley to the Palestinians as part of the 2013-2014 US-led peace talks”, provided the Israeli army could maintain a presence for 10-15 years post-formal withdrawal.
Ya’alon argued that what Gantz said as army chief under a Netanyahu government is less important than the fact that “Gantz as chairman of Blue and White has said very clearly that the Jordan Valley will remain [Israel’s] forever”.
In addition, Ya’alon was explaining “that any position Gantz might have given regarding the Jordan Valley while serving under Netanyahu would have needed to fall in line with the prime minister’s expectations”, the paper added.
During the interview, Ya’alon also claimed that “his and Gantz’s position of holding onto the Jordan Valley was consistent with the father of the Oslo peace negotiations with the Palestinians, former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin”.
The senior Blue and White politician also attacked Netanyahu on this issue, telling The Jerusalem Post that the prime minister “has shown he is not serious about annexing the Jordan Valley, since he has done nothing to invest in the area”.
“In contrast, he [Ya’alon] said, when he served as defence minister, he actively assisted Jordan Valley communities [Israeli settlements] with water and electricity issues”.