Israel could reconsider their future presence in the Jordan Valley, according to Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, but the recognition will depend on conditions on the ground. Regev told the Associated Press that Israel’s presence can be reviewed over time, and in accordance with Palestinian performance, but initially it will be required in any peace agreement. Regev insisted on security arrangements to prevent a repeat of history.
This offer of reconsideration could help the peace process because Israel’s presence on the eastern border of a future Palestinian state is one of the obstacles to the process.
However, an Israeli soldier, speaking under condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that Netanyahu wants Israeli troops to remain in the Jordan Valley, as part of a peace deal, and added that in recent weeks Netanyahu raised the issue of an Israeli troop presence with U.S. officials, when they were trying to persuade him to extend the recently expired 10-month-old curb on West Bank settlement construction.
The Palestinians say they will not accept any Israeli deployment in their future state, arguing that the presence of international forces during a transition period – an idea they support – should be sufficient to address Israeli security concerns.
The Jordan Valley would be an essential part of a future Palestinian state as it is one of the few largely undeveloped areas and a place to build new cities and to settle refugees.
This is not the first time in which the management of the Jordan Valley has been discussed. In Israeli-Palestinian talks a decade ago, negotiators had reached tentative agreement on the establishment of Israeli-manned early warning stations in the Jordan Valley on the West Bank’s eastern edge. However, those talks broke down without agreement.
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations were restarted in September by the Obama administration, but are currently on hold because of disagreement over Israeli settlement building.