Knesset committee approves bill to annex Jordan Valley

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A Knesset committee of government ministers has approved a bill to annex the Jordan Valley, which would allow Jews to remain there under a peace treaty with the Palestinians.

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation passed the bill Sunday by a vote of 8 to 3. The ministers supporting the bill came from the Likud, Yisrael Beiteinu and the Jewish Home parties.


The bill, proposed by Miri Regev of the Likud Party, was opposed by Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid Party and   Science and Technology Minister Jacob Perry of Yesh Atid, as well as Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, head of the HaTnuah Party.  The bill also is opposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The bill would apply Israeli law to the region, which is currently considered a captured territory. A similar bill annexed the Golan Heights in 1981. The bill is designed to prevent an Israeli withdrawal from the Jordan Valley when a peace deal with the Palestinians is achieved.

Israel has called for leaving troops in the Jordan Valley under any peace agreement, while the Palestinian negotiators have said the area should be completely free of Israelis and Israeli troops.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the bill would destroy efforts to advance the peace process, Ynet reported.

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