President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas said that all agreements signed with the Israeli side and the resulting obligations will be terminated if the Israeli side carries out the imposition of Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
This came in response to statements by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who announced on Wednesday that “the cabinet will vote on Sunday to approve legalising the Jordan Valley unauthorised outpost of Mevo’ot Yericho as a legal settlement.”
On Tuesday, Netanyahu revealed his intention to annex the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank to Israel if he was re-elected as a prime minister in the elections planned to be organised next week.
“Today, after the formation of a new government, I announce my intention to extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea,” Netanyahu said in a speech broadcast live on Israeli television.
Netanyahu pledged to annex all Jewish settlements across the West Bank, but said such a move would not be taken until a long-awaited United States peace plan and consultations with US President Donald Trump.
On Wednesday, speaking at a special Knesset session about his Jordan Valley annexation plan, Netanyahu mocked criticism that he had not taken such a step in his first 13 years as prime minister.
“Those who ask why we didn’t annex it before don’t understand how it works,” he said, adding “I have been working for years on softening hearts. It is a gradual process. That is why I told the US over the past few days about my decision.”
Meanwhile, the League of Arab countries denounced Netanyahu’s plan saying that such moves would undermine any chances for progress toward peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
“Netanyahu’s statements on annexing lands in the West Bank violate international law and UN resolutions,” Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said, adding that these statements undermine the chances of any progress in the peace process.
The Jordan Valley in the West Bank stretches from the Dead Sea in the south to the northern city of Beit She’an. The valley covers an area of 2,400 sqkm, representing about 30% of the West Bank.