On January 2, Gideon Sa’ar, Israel’s Minister of the Interior, participated in the inauguration of a new neighborhood in the community of Gitit in the Jordan Valley. He was joined by members of the Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset, who toured the Jordan Valley and expressed their solidarity with the residents there.
As the concrete foundations for a new structure were being poured, Sa’ar stated: “We are here to strengthen you, the residents of the Jordan Valley. You are the emissaries of Israel, and we support you.” He further added: “The concept that holds that peace must require the uprooting of communities is misguided and incorrect, and we reject it. The opposite is the truth; blossoming communities in Israel are a condition to peace.”
MK Yariv Levin, who was also a participant in the tour, said: “The Jordan Valley is Israeli and will remain Israeli. We are here because we have [the] right to be here. Security concerns are important but they are not the main reason for our right to this area.” Echoing Sa’ar, Levin said that an Israeli civilian presence in the Valley was absolutely necessary in order to ensure that the area did not turn into a nest for terrorists.
Minister Sa’ar and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin planted a tree at the new site.
The visit comes in the wake of the controversy surrounding a bill proposed in Israel’s parliament by MK Miri Regev (Likud) this week to annex the Jordan Valley. The government ministers’ legislation committee subsequently approved the bill to impose Israeli law over Jewish communities in the area. Eight ministers voted for, three against. Regev said after the vote: “It’s an important bill, which delivers the message that the State of Israel will not give up the Valley communities, the eastern security belt of the state.”