An Israeli minister said on Tuesday that Blue and White centrist party has reached an agreement with Likud on annexing the Jordan Valley.
Science and Technology Minister Izhar Shai, who belongs to Blue and White, party chair Defense Minister Benny Gantz would only support the plan if it was backed by the United States and some Arab countries.
“There is agreement on the Jordan Valley,” Shai in an interview with Army Radio.
“But,” he noted, “Gantz has said it would only be done in coordination with the Arab states and with the US.”
Shai did not specify which Arab states would be consulted. However, Times of Israel reported that Tel Aviv “is likely to be most concerned about the diplomatic annexation fallout among its neighbors, Jordan and Egypt, with which it has peace treaties.”
Absent from Shai’s comment was any reference to other parts of the West Bank. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said he would include all Israeli settlements in the annexation plan as well.
“He would not consider taking a unilateral step,” Shai said of Gantz, referring to coordination with third-party players, though not to the Palestinian Authority, which vehemently opposes the move.
According to the London-based Arabic newspaper Rai al-Youm, Gantz may visit Jordan amid rising tensions between Tel Aviv and Amman over the plan to annex parts of the West Bank.
According to an Israeli Channel 12 news report on Monday, the Trump administration is disinclined to back Netanyahu’s repeatedly declared intention to unilaterally annex parts of the West Bank, unless the move is supported by Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.
Source: Israeli media