Yoni Kempinski, Tova Dvorin
Thursday's tour of the Jordan Valley by 15 MKs was a landmark political statement of Israel's rights to live in Judea and Samaria, according to those present.
"Today we're here not just to mention our connection to the Jordan Valley, but also that the plan that Kerry is going to be presented today is irrelevant to the Middle East conflict," Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) stated to Arutz Sheva. "The importance of this tour is not just about [the] Jordan Valley, but also, in general, about our rights in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem as well."
Dani Dayan, Chief Foreign Envoy for Yesha Council, stated, "The law that was approved in the Ministerial Committee is a loud and clear statement that this government will not relinquish control of the Jordan Valley, nor uproot the communities here."
"Our task is to be aware of any changes in that position, to help the Jordan Valley grow even more," he continued.
The Jordan Valley has been one of the main topics of discussion in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which continue on Friday during US Secretary of State John Kerry's tenth visit to the region. Kerry's plan would see Israel withdraw from the Valley over a 10-year period - something which several MKs see as a security risk.
“Without the Jordan Valley, Israel will not have the strategic depth necessary to defend itself,” MK Gidon Sa'ar (Likud) said during the tour. “An Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley will be a requirement of Israel's defense for many generations to come.”