During talks in Amman in recent weeks, Israeli negotiators agreed to relinquish Israeli sovereignty of the Jordan Valley, according to a report in Maariv today. Similar positions were expressed in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent speech in the Knesset, in which he outlined his vision for a final status solution, but omitted any reference to sovereignty in the Jordan Valley. Instead, Israel may request other long-term security arrangements such as joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols along the border and electronic monitoring systems.
The Jordan Valley will constitute the eastern border of a future Palestinian state and is considered strategically crucial to curb weapons’ smuggling into the West Bank. During the Amman talks, both sides were asked to present their principles of future borders and security arrangements. As the longest Palestinian border, the Jordan Valley is thus one of the most important aspects of these talks.
The Prime Minister’s Office did not confirm Maariv’s report, and noted that the “success of the talks depend on their discretion.” Palestinian sources quoted by the paper said Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected Israel’s position.
In a statement made yesterday during a visit to Israel by Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore, Netanyahu said Palestinian incitement against Israel destroys confidence between the sides. Netanyahu’s cited a Palestinian TV programme that glorified the terrorists who murdered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar last March.