EU warns of violence if Israel annexes Jordan Valley
STRASBOURG - The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, urged Israel not to annex the Jordan Valley, a large area of the occupied West Bank, warning of Palestinian protests if it went ahead.
Israel captured the West Bank in a 1967 war. The Palestinian Authority wants to make the area part of a future state but Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced his intention to annex the valley if he is re-elected.
“This may happen… You can be sure it’s not going to be peaceful,” Borrell told the European Parliament on February 11.
About 65,000 Palestinians and 11,000 Israeli settlers live in the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, said Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. The main Palestinian city there is Jericho, with around 28 villages and smaller Bedouin communities.
Borrell, who recently travelled to Washington, reiterated his rejection of parts of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which would give Israel most of what it has sought during decades of conflict, including nearly all Palestinian land on which it has built settlements.
“The proposals tabled two weeks ago clearly challenge the internationally agreed parameters. It is difficult to see how this initiative can bring both parties back to the table,” Borrell said of Israel and the Palestinians.
“I made this point to my (US) interlocutors: We need to ask ourselves whether this plan provides a basis for progress or not.”