By Luke Hilton (3 minute read)
- Prime Minister Netanyahu promises sovereignty for the Jordan Valley immediately, and eventually all of Judea and Samaria.
- Will Likud win the elections on September 17th, and be able to form a government?
Just one week ahead of the September 17th elections in Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu scheduled a press conference. Advertising it as a “dramatic announcement,” the prime minister dropped a bombshell when he announced his intentions to immediately annex the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea regions if elected next week.
“There is one place that Israeli sovereignty can be applied immediately after the elections if Israeli citizens let me in. Today I announce my intention to apply Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea,” he declared.
Netanyahu added that at a later stage, after the U.S. has presented its Middle East peace plan, Israel would apply sovereignty to all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Prime Minister Netanyahu talked about his persuasion of President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to recognize the Golan Heights. He claims that he is now doing the same thing with the Jordan Valley and Judea and Samaria.
“Out of respect for President Trump, and out of great trust in our friendship, I will wait to impose Israeli sovereignty over all the settlements until after the presentation of the president’s diplomatic plan,” Netanyahu said.
As expected, the EU, UN, Arab League, and multiple Arab nations as well as Russia, have condemned the announcement.
In a statement quoted by Reuters, Guterres warned the move would be illegal and would gut the prospects for regional peace.
“Such steps, if implemented, would constitute a serious violation of international law,” he said.
“They would be devastating to the potential of reviving negotiations and regional peace, while severely undermining the viability of the two-state solution,” added the UN chief.
The real question is, which international law would Israel be violating by applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley? The next time someone brings the question of international law, just ask them which law forbids Israel from considering all parts of Israel sovereign, and see what they come up with. Spoiler alert: there is no such international law! Look it up for yourself.
The EU also condemned Netanyahu’s announcement, calling it illegal, and harmful to the peace process:
“The policy of settlement construction and expansion… is illegal under international law and its continuation, and actions taken in this context, undermine the viability of the two-state solution and the prospects for a lasting peace,” an EU spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.
Banner alert for the EU! Most of Israel’s government leaders and the United States’ current Administration have taken leave of the terminology “two state solution”. It’s been dead for several years now. We don’t have the space to go into it now, but a two state solution would not only be political and real life suicide for Israel, but would also be detrimental for the Palestinian people, many of whom simply want to live, work, provide for their families, and exist in peace.
With the latest polls showing the Blue and White Party with a narrow lead over Likud, the elections next week are definitely uncertain. Prime Minister Netanyahu told Arutz Sheva in an interview that “we’re gonna lose if people don’t vote for Likud.” He asked the people of Israel who they want to conduct negotiations with Trump when the peace plan is released. “If you want me, then for God’s sake, vote for me,” he said emphatically.
Indeed, if the people of Israel find resonance with Bibi’s promise to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, they will indeed need to vote for him next week. The prime minister claims that Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid, leaders of the left-wing Blue and White party, will uproot 80,000 settlers from Judea and Samaria if elected.
There is still some doubt about whether or not Netanyahu is actually serious about annexation. Many believe it is just a political stunt to garner more votes in next week’s elections. If you want my opinion, I think the answer to that question is yes and yes. There seems to be a trend of lots of attention going to Judea and Samaria anytime elections are looming. However, Netanyahu has often proven to be a politician that does not make concrete promises like this without following through on them, so I’m hopeful.
As Christian Zionists, one of our tasks is to remind God of His promises from His Word. Here’s what the prophet Amos had to say about settlement in Israel:
“I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God.” (Amos 9:15)
So elections or not, let’s continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and that God would appoint leaders during the next elections who will no longer pull up their people from the land and homes that God has given them, but rather, firmly plant them in the land.