Netanyahu: Jordan Valley vital to Israel

March 8, 2011 at 9:25 AM
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JERUSALEM, March 8 (UPI) -- Israel's prime minister said Tuesday any future peace agreement with the Palestinians must allow Israel to maintain its military presence in the Jordan Valley.

During a tour of the area, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu called the Jordan River "Israel's security border," Haaretz reported.

"Israel's line of defense begins here," Netanyahu said. "If rockets and missiles break out here, they will reach Tel Aviv, Haifa and all over the state."

Netanyahu is considering a plan to establish a Palestinian state with temporary borders as part of an interim peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority that could be implemented immediately, sources in his office said last week.

The change in strategy was reportedly sparked by recent anti-government protests in the Arab world.

"The Palestinians aren't ready to reach a final-status agreement to end the conflict, in light of the instability in the region," Netanyahu reportedly said.

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