With last week’s ministerial vote to being the process of annexing the Jordan Valley, Israeli media has been more vigorously than ever debating the Jewish state’s right to unilaterally lay claim to territory.
Israel’s only previous act of annexation of a previously sovereign territory involved the Golan Heights. That act, which Israel did not technically define as annexation, has been rejected by the international community, but has become a de facto reality on the ground.
Of course, the Jordan Valley presents a different problem. Since the end of World War I, the Jordan Valley has not been the recognized sovereign territory of any national entity. Essentially, Israel took control of a territory that belonged to no one, at least at a national level.
On top of that, Israel seized the area in a defensive military action, which in the past was recognized internationally as an acceptable way of obtaining territory. And, perhaps most importantly, the Jordan Valley was part of the territory originally earmarked by the international community in 1920 for a future Jewish state. The world powers initially intended for the Jordan Valley to be part of Israel.
Of course, for Bible-believers, there is a deeper aspect to the argument: the Jordan Valley is very clearly part of the land promised to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as a perpetual possession. Nevertheless, Israeli leaders insist they must also be able to successfully argue their claims from a legal and historical point of view.
The Jerusalem Post has a good, concise overview of the two sides of this argument. Click here to go read it.