After almost 47 years in which the entire area conquered in 1967, other than East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, have remained a military occupation zone, this Sunday the Netanyahu government approved a bill that would annex the Jordan Valley.
The government ministers’ legislation committee approved a bill proposed by MK Miri Regev (Likud), to impose Israeli law over Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley. 8 ministers voted for, 3 against.
The committee chairperson, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, said the bill was irresponsible, and whomever supports it is irresponsible, too. She said it was meant as an assault on the government, since policy regarding the disputed territories is a government matter and should not be handled via private bills.
Livni added that the bills’ supporters wish to remain in the government despite the fact that it’s negotiating for a 2-state solution, and at the same time curry favor with the right wing “extremists.”
Did we mention already that she called it provocative and irresponsible?
Yesh Atid Minister Yaakov Perry said the Miri Regev bill to annex the Valley in the middle of a sensitive negotiation, days before the next visit of the American secretary of state is a provocation and a publicity stunt. Perry promised to appeal the bill at the Supreme Court.
In Israel you don’t have to wait until a bill becomes a law to appeal it – and in this way the judiciary can function as an active member of the legislator, despite the fact that no one voted for them, and that they were all appointed by their brother in law, who’s also a judge. Very traditional.
The Israeli media covered mostly what the left had to say about Miri Regev, but the website Srugim actually interviewed Regev, who said she was pleased.
“It’s an important bill, which delivers the message that the State of Israel will not give up the Valley settlements, the eastern security belt of the state,” she said.
A note of interest: the votes in favor of the bill came from all the votes of the Likud, Israel Beiteinu and Jewish Home. This may be an indication that the pro-settlements MKs will be able to turn it into law, especially if Prime Minister Netanyahu does not actively try to kill it – which he has done in similar situations in the past.
The vote today clearly means that Netanyahu gave his approval, tacit or complete, to the annexation bill, making the next Palestinian walkout threat a virtual reality.
Should they walk, Israel may be able to use it as an excuse to halt the murderer prisoner release.
Or Bibi will just kill the bill and we’ll all move on.
Satellite image of the Jordan valley.