Jordan Valley is new peace process sticking point

Wednesday, March 09, 2011 |  Ryan Jones

The Jordan Valley has, at least temporarily, replaced control of Jerusalem and the “right” of millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees” to flood Israel as the main sticking point of the Middle East peace process.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has for years been lobbying to secure international support for continued Israeli military control of the strategic Jordan Valley in any final status peace deal with the Palestinians.

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday warned that if any world leaders back Netanyahu on that issue, they will be killing any chances of peace.

“There is no Palestinian state without the Jordan Valley,” insisted Fayyad.

Fayyad felt compelled to speak up as Netanyahu has been escalating his calls for a continued Israeli presence along the Jordan Valley border in light of the regional unrest.

The revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere, explained Netanyahu, means there is no guarantee a stable Jordanian government will always be there to prevent arms smuggling into a future Palestinian state.

Without an Israeli army presence in the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu said Islamists could easily transport all types of weapons from Iran all the way to the hills overlooking Israel’s densely-populated coastal region with little or no opposition.

Israeli officials have argued that history proves Israel must control the Jordan Valley. Prior to 1967, the entire valley was ruled by Jordan, and that fact allowed the “West Bank” to become a terrorist-infested region that fostered constant conflict with Israel.

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