Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that the Jordan Valley, located in the eastern part of the occupied West Bank, "will always remain a part of Israel."
According to Israel's Channel 10, Netanyahu made this statement last night during a ceremony marking 50 years of Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley.
"The valley is a strategic defensive belt for the country, and without it the fundamentalist flood could reach the interior, up to Gush Dan. Thus, our eastern defensive line starts at this place. If we won't be here, Tehran and Hamastan will be here. We won't let that happen."
The Jordan Valley will always remain a part of Israel. We will continue to settle it, invest in infrastructure and tourism.
The Jordan Valley makes up about a quarter of the occupied West Bank and is considered to have the most fertile agricultural land.
The first settlements were built in the area under the pretext of security purposes.
Read: Israel confiscates water tanks, destroys pipe in Jordan Valley
Over 70,000 Palestinians live in various villages in the Jordan Valley in.
Meanwhile, 9,000 Israeli settlers live in 21 settlements consisting of Israeli military barracks. The Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land are considered a violation of international law.