The Jordan Valley, which accounts for almost a third of the occupied West Bank, “will be under Israeli sovereignty”, according to the long-delayed peace plan unveiled by US President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who joined Trump at the announcement, has been adamant that the Jordan Valley falls under full Israeli control and become an important part of its eastern border.
Benny Gantz, Netanyahu’s election rival has made a similar pledge to annex the Jordan Valley as a part of his campaign.
Jordan has warned Israel over the unilateral annexation of the territory.
Where is the Jordan Valley?
The Jordan Valley is a fertile strip of land that stretches from the north of the Dead Sea along the eastern perimeter of the West Bank, bordering the Kingdom of Jordan. It is home to 65,000 Palestinians in 28 villages and 11,000 illegal Israeli settlers.
The total land to be annexed comprises almost 30 percent of the West Bank.
Under Netanyahu’s current plan, the city of Jericho would be cut off from other Palestinian towns in the West Bank.
According to the United Nation’s OCHA, it is home to approximately 20,000 Palestinians.
In a future Palestinian state, the plan will leave West Bank isolated from its Arab neighbour, Jordan.
Currently, the Allenby/King Hussein bridge border crossing over River Jordan is the only crossing between Jordan and the West Bank.
Why is it significant?
The annexation of the Jordan Valley separates the West Bank from the River Jordan, which forms its eastern border with Jordan. The river feeds over 80,000 hectares (197,684 acres) of agricultural lands and fish farms.
Controlling this region enables full reign for Israel to divert the river’s waters to new and pre-existing illegal settlements in the West Bank.
Israel routinely cuts off water supply from the River Jordan and diverts it to pipelines serving settlements instead.
This is a part of a continuing effort by Israel to make living conditions for Palestinians in the Jordan Valley difficult so that most of them leave their lands.
And with occupied East Jerusalem’s Palestinians, having not been given Israeli citizenship since the annexations of their land and their status remaining controversial and unresolved, it appears that those from the Jordan Valley are facing a similar future.