[Thursday January 2, 2014] Israeli Interior Minister, Gideon Sa’ar, placed the cornerstone for a new illegal settlement in the occupied Jordan Valley of the West Bank, Palestine TV has reported.The Minister told reporters that Israel would boost and maintain the presence of its soldiers and settlers in the Jordan Valley, under any peace agreement with the Palestinians, adding that the area is essential for what he called “Israel’s strategic interests”.

His deputy, Ze’ev Elkin, stated that the new cornerstone comes in what he called “a great timing”, as U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, will be visiting Tel Aviv and Ramallah on the same day in an attempt to advance direct political talks.

“Giving up the Jordan Valley will make Kfar Saba a border town with the Palestinians”, he said, “Israel will build, will continue to build and expand its settlements”.

Meanwhile, the head of the Regional Council of Settlements in the occupied Jordan Valley, David Elchaiiani, demanded that the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu officially annex the Jordan Valley.

He added that Netanyahu “doesn’t have a peace coalition”, referring to his settler-led government.

Israeli settlements, in every part of occupied Palestine, including the Jordan Valley and occupied Jerusalem, are illegal under International Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.

Losing their land to illegal Israeli settlements and the illegal Annexation Wall, the Palestinians continue to suffer significant economic losses due to illegal annexation of their land, in addition to the fact that various Palestinian communities became isolated from the rest of the Palestinian territories.