Israel has endorsed Trump's map which gives the entire Jordan River valley to Israel - presumably to not have any landmass connecting Jordan and Palestine.

Why is this so important for Israel? For feeling safer?

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    All other things being equal, it would make them safer. According to news reports (I haven't looked at the original plan), the concept leaves Palestine with no independent access to the outside. Israel could monitor both people and goods. The problem with that is that it puts Palestine sovereignty into question, which might prolong unrest that makes Israel less safe.
    – o.m.
    Jan 30, 2020 at 5:56
  • 4
    And the experience of Gaza isn't exactly going to engender much trust on either side. As Colin noted rockets and weapon smuggling certainly have been a problem. But the flip side is also that Gaza seems to lack access to a lot of basic imports and is basically at the mercy of whatever import restrictions Israel puts on it. It is not a fully functional state, as is generally understood. Jan 30, 2020 at 7:24
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    Can you include something in the question about what "Trump's map" is, and how Israel has endorsed it? To my eye, there's some context missing.
    – bobsburner
    Jan 30, 2020 at 12:00
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    @bobsburner: I assume OP means this map that's been published on various news sites recently.
    – dan04
    Jan 30, 2020 at 15:17
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    I like this version of the map, designed in 2008 and amended in 2011, that was actually meant to stress out how unviable such a proposal was: 4.bp.blogspot.com/-rjcVdnBBsH0/TpxQlHFRDFI/AAAAAAAAACo/…
    – Evargalo
    Jan 30, 2020 at 16:00

4 Answers 4


Following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Hamas gained power there. Hamas and other militant groups received shipments of foreign rockets and other weapons, largely from Iran. Such rockets were frequently fired into Israel over the ensuing years.

Israel is eager not to repeat this experience with respect to the West Bank. If a similar arsenal of rockets was smuggled to the West Bank, it could be used to disrupt Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion Airport, which are the lifeblood of the Israeli economy.

Israel fears that by ceding the Jordan Valley, it would open a weapons smuggling route from the East Bank to the West Bank, creating a similar but quite possibly worse security threat to the ongoing one from Gaza.

Edit: Let me add that these security concerns could be addressed under a framework of Palestinian sovereignty by allowing a (perhaps temporary) Israeli security presence in the Jordan Valley, or an international force as proposed by Palestinian President Abbas. That is what was actively discussed in the 2013 peace negotiations, such as they were. PM Netanyahu has advocated annexation of the area as a populist appeal to his right wing base. Ultimately, the Jordan Valley is both symbolically and substantively integral to Palestinian national ambitions. Even following an Israeli annexation, this area may ultimately pass to Palestinian sovereignty. Annexation to Israel is certainly a step in the opposite direction, but Israel has in the past negotiated to cede areas it had previously annexed, such as the Golan Heights.

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    Might the Palestinian refugees who are in Jordan and the desire to control water sources not also count a little bit? Jan 31, 2020 at 17:39
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    The question is about why the Jordan Valley is important for Israel, not why it is important for Palestine, which it most certainly is.
    – Colin
    Jan 31, 2020 at 17:41
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    "...Israel has in the past negotiated to cede areas it had previously annexed, such as the Golan Heights..." - Could you please include a source for this? I currently live in the Golan Hights and it's very much under Israeli sovereignty. I'm not sure what you mean here.
    – Mithical
    Feb 1, 2020 at 20:33
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    @Mithical: Presumably Colin doesn't mean that Israel actually ceded the Golan, but rather, that it has discussed that as a possibility during negotiations. (And indeed, there have been many such negotiations: google.com/search?q=Israel+negotiate+Golan) In other words, Israel does not always perceive annexation as irrevocable.
    – ruakh
    Feb 2, 2020 at 2:40
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    Your answer seems to be correct, at least in theory. In practice, I'm afraid Palestinians only get drawbacks from the proposed "peace plan", so they'll have even less to lose than they already have. Lo and behold, this will lead to even more terrorism, more security concerns and even stronger restrictions in the next peace plan. Feb 2, 2020 at 14:17

The idea of Israel controlling the Jordan River valley as part of a long term peace agreement goes back to 1967, just about after the six days war. It was central part of the Allon Plan that was presented to the Israeli government only weeks after the war ended. The goal of the plan was to accommodate for Israeli security by keeping the Judea and Samaria mountains top under Israeli control, while giving away as much of the remaining occupied land back to the Palestinians to allow for self rule.

At that time, the area of the west bank of the Jordan River was sparsely populated. The 1967 Eshkol-led government accepted the plan and it formed the settling strategy in the following decade (until Likud rose to power). Following the plan, the government approved Israeli settlement in the area and indeed the first Israeli settlements in the west bank were founded on that land. Accordingly, the population in these settlements differs from later Likud-era settlements. The population of the Jordan River valley settlements is mostly secular and center-left wing oriented. To this day, the area is mostly populated by Israeli settlements.

The security considerations that led to the design of the plan were accepted by following governments with little questioning. The same considerations guided the Israeli delegation during Oslo peace talks. Today, more than half a century after its devise, the design of the plan is regard as an axiom by Israeli military leadership.

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    Israel repeatedly offered or planned to cede the Jordan Valley to the Palestinians (e.g. 2000, 2001, 2006). The government's unwillingness to cede the Jordan Valley is much newer than the events you discuss, and what has changed is the increased concerns over the security issues following the Gaza withdrawal (see my answer), as well as generally increased opposition to territorial concessions in Israeli society.
    – Colin
    Jan 30, 2020 at 17:57
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    @Colin, in 2000 Camp David Summit, Israeli proposal included annexation of a narrow strip of the Jordan river valley. Israel did offer full palestinian control in 2001 Taba and in 2008 (Olmaert proposal). However, regardless of that, Your answer present a false view that Israel wish to retain control of the area sprung up after the Gaza withdrawal. I wanted to show that the roots of the Israeli demand go further back in time Jan 30, 2020 at 19:35
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    It was after the Gaza withdrawal that the desire to retain the area became decisive. The Israeli offer in 2000 called for Israeli security presence (not annexation) in a minor percentage of the Jordan Valley area (see jewishvirtuallibrary.org/…).
    – Colin
    Jan 30, 2020 at 22:35
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    I do not know whay you mean by "decisive". Evidently, The notion of annexing the area was first devised and accepted as strategy after the six days war. This is an undisputed historical fact. It is true that later on there were Israeli offers that ceded this land. this is common when government is replaced. same as Obama signing the agreement with Iran and then Trump backing away from it. Jan 31, 2020 at 9:18
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    Perhaps we can say that Israel was intitally concerned about a land invasion or infiltration from Jordan (prior to Black September and the Israel-Jordan detente), so less willing to give up the Jordan Valley. Became quite willing to give it up afterwards (90s, 00s), and then became unwilling following the Gaza problems. By decisive I meant it was what caused Israel to go from previously willing to currently unwilling.
    – Colin
    Jan 31, 2020 at 16:35

Before the Six Day War in 1967, the West Bank (a name given by Jordan to the territories under its control west of the Jordan River) was completely under hostile, enemy control. The width of Israel's heartland, from the sea until the [at the time enemy state of] Jordan was only 9 miles. Also, the West Bank consists of hills and highlands that overlook Tel Aviv and the major population centers of Israel.

This was always a strategic danger to Israel's existence and in 1967 it looked as though Israel would finally be wiped out by Jordan, Egypt and Syria using their strategic geographic advantage.

In the end of course, Israel pulled off an incredible upset and even tripled its territory (most of which it has given back in peace agreements). However for Israel to go back to a situation where it would put its commercial and financial center between the sea and a hostile mountain range armed with unlimited weapons, would effectively guarantee a future war. That is why Israel feels it must have full control of what kind of weapons could be imported and possibly placed in these mountains.

Israel West Bank


Has anyone covered the water question ? The Jordan river and Sea of Galilee is the largest drinking-water supply in the region (fresh water from the mountains in Lebanon and Syria.) The competition for water between Israel, Syrie and Jordan was one of the reasons for the 1967 war wiki on Sea of Galilee.


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