In a move that seems certain to torpedo what little hope remains of a peace deal in the near term, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has demanded that Israel be allowed to maintain a permanent military presence in the Jordan Valley.
This means in practice that even if Israel agrees to the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, it would insist on maintaining military control over the border between that state and Jordan, and would continue to have troops inside the “demilitarized” future nation.
The demand has already been angrily rejected by the Palestinian Authority, which hopes for an independent state free of any Israeli control. The two sides have not been negotiating in recent months at any rate, as Israel has refused Palestinian calls to stop expanding the settlements in the West Bank until final borders are settled.
Netanyahu also condemned the Palestinians in general while making the demands, however, suggesting his call was not so much a serious attempt to gain such a concession as a rhetorical move. Netanyahu insisted the Palestinians were not “ready for peace.”