Deputy Israeli Defence Minister Danny Danon ruled out the possibility of a Palestinian presence in the occupied Jordan Valley, Israeli media reported on Wednesday.
Danon, who is a member of the Likud party, was speaking to Israeli radio when he affirmed his extremist view that there will never be a “possibility of any Israeli withdrawal from the strategically-important Jordan Valley.”
He said: “From the Israeli point of view, there will not be any Palestinian presence at the crossing points [with Jordan]. An Israeli civilian and military presence in the Jordan Valley is essential.”
Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that US General John Allen was planning to present Prime Minister Netanyahu with a “bridging proposal” on Thursday that will enable Israel to reduce, as much as possible, its military presence in the Jordan Valley.
Danon reportedly insisted that: “Even if the Americans are our friends, we will tell them sorry, we are not going to do everything you want, we are not going to give up principles that are essential for us.”
He continued that Israel must assert itself, “Even if it means the negotiations will not move forward and there will not be a nice ceremony at the White House. Israel cannot compromise security for a ceremony at the White House.”
Regarding Kerry’s visit, Danon remarked: “Secretary Kerry is coming to Israel again. We cannot count how many times he has come already. We welcome him to Israel but we should tell him very clearly – we will not sign an interim agreement that will put the lives of Israelis in danger.”
“We saw what happened in Geneva. A bad accord was signed in Geneva. We will not sign another bad accord with the Palestinians,” he warned.
He expected that Netanyahu will tell Kerry that Israel “cannot compromise our security and our assets merely for another ceremony at the White House.”
Kerry arrived in Israel late on Wednesday in an attempt to save the faltering peace talks.
After the meeting with Netanyahu on Thursday, Kerry told reporters: “We have always known that this is a difficult, complicated road.”
Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported an Israeli state official describing Kerry’s visit as yet “another futile attempt”.