Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the Jordan Valley region would remain part of Israel regardless of any future political settlement.
“I think most Israelis would favor a situation where we could separate from the Palestinians. I don’t want the Palestinians as citizens of Israel and I don’t want them as subjects of Israel. I want a solution where they have all the powers they need to govern themselves but none of the powers that would threaten us,” Netanyahu said in a speech at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C., according to a statement issued by his office.
“What that means is that whatever the solution is, the area west of the Jordan [River], that includes the Palestinian areas, would be militarily under Israel. The security, the overriding security and responsibility would be Israel’s,” Netanyahu said.
He said the Middle East was “full of failed states, states that collapsed” and claimed that the Palestinians and “everyone” would collapse if Israel was not the power responsible for the security of the Jordan Valley region.
Roughly 6,000 Jewish settlers live in the Jordan Valley region, which runs along the occupied West Bank’s eastern border with Jordan.
Israel occupied the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the Jewish state’s “undivided and eternal capital” -- a move never recognized by the international community.
International law views the West Bank and East Jerusalem as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there as illegal.