During a tour around the eastern West Bank on Tuesday, the Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed to keep the Israeli military presence on the eastern border of the West Bank, which would mean that any future Palestinian ‘state’ would be an island, completely surrounded by Israel.Netanyahu stated that Israel’s ‘security border’ begins along the Jordan River, which marks the eastern edge of the West Bank, one of two Palestinian Territories that have been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Israel has not defined its borders since its creation in 1948, and Netanyahu’s statement negates the indigenous Palestinians’ claim on the land, which dates back centuries, by implying that Israel plans to expand to fill the entire West Bank and displace the entire Palestinian population from their native land.
The Palestinian Authority responded to Netanyahu’s statement quickly, saying “There is no Palestinian state without the Jordan Valley”, as an Israeli presence on the eastern border of the West Bank would leave the Palestinians completely surrounded, with no external borders.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu asked for international support of his plan to keep troops in the Jordan Valley for the long term. The British Foreign Secretary, who met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas earlier on Tuesday, did not respond directly to Netanyahu’s statement, instead focusing on the need to resume peace talks between the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority of Abbas.
The Palestinians reiterated their core demand, that Israel withdraw its forces from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and establish a border with Palestine on the 1967 armistice border. Around 500,000 Israelis live in settlements on Palestinian land east of the 1967 border, with a growing number of these settlements being established in the Jordan Valley by displacing indigenous Palestinian residents from their land.