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Israel Must Seize Its Opportunity in the Jordan Valley

Israel Hayom, Israel, June 28

Those in Israel who oppose the government’s plan to annex the Jordan Valley have come up with a new “convincing” argument: It is not worth annexing 30 kilometers of land in the Jordan Valley and, in doing so, jeopardizing our peace agreement with Jordan, which gives us a strategic buffer almost tenfold in size on our eastern border. However, this so-called “strategic depth” provided to us by the Hashemite Kingdom, which separates us from countries like Iraq and Syria, is unreliable at best. Jordan is a country that for years has been under the risk of political collapse. This is due to the anomaly of its population composition: an overwhelming majority of Palestinians (70-80%) living under a royal house that relies on a Bedouin-ruled army. The Jordanian royal house may have survived the Arab Spring that broke out abruptly but the fall of the Tunisian, Egyptian, and Yemenite regimes and the bloody war in neighboring Syria have all undermined the strength of the central regime in Amman. The understanding that Jordan faces an existential danger has already brought the royal house in the past to maintain close, albeit covert, security coordination with Israel. I took part in many of these meetings with Jordanian officials. Israel is also the one that saved Jordan from a Syrian invasion in September 1970 and has essentially provided the royal house with an insurance policy for the security and stability of the kingdom. Therefore, Jordan will always prefer, even without admitting it, Israeli, rather than Palestinian, soldiers on its border. Jordan is also not free of sin. Just this past year it violated the spirit of the peace agreement with Israel, when it refused to renew Israel’s lease over the Island of Peace in Naharayim. Therefore, Israel must take whatever it can. A Jordan Valley in our hands is better than a so-called “strategic depth” in the bush. – Brig. Gen. (res.) Aharon Levran, a former senior Intelligence officer in the IDF (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)