The Sykes-Picot Agreement that shaped the borders around us almost 100 years ago has run its course,” PM Benjamin Netanyahu says •
Netanyahu says Israel needs to support international efforts to strengthen Jordan and support Kurdish independence
Shlomo Cesana, Eli Leon and Israel Hayom Staff
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, Sunday|
Photo credit: Yehoshua Yosef
In light of recent changes in the Middle East, Israel is going to have to construct a security fence along the length of its border with Jordan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
Speaking at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv, Netanyahu said that in any future peace deal with the Palestinians, the Israel Defense Forces would be the entity protecting Israel in Judea and Samaria, including the Jordan Valley.
Israel “must stabilize the region west of the security line in Jordan,” Netanyahu said, adding that the territory of a future Palestinian state, up to the Jordan River, would have to remain under full Israeli security control for many years.
Netanyahu said he was updating his 2009 Bar-Ilan University address, in which he called for a two-state solution. The prime minister said he now advocates the notion that the Palestinians should have “political and economic control in the territories they control, but simultaneously there must be a continuation of Israeli security operations in these territories to ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups.”
“A withdrawal of our forces would likely bring about the fall of the Palestinian Authority, and the rise of Islamist extremists, like in the Gaza Strip, which would pose a serious danger for Israel,” Netanyahu said.
He cited four challenges ahead for Israel: defending its borders, stabilizing the region between the security border with Jordan and the population centers, regional cooperation to stop the spread of Islamist extremism, and preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear threshold state.
“The Middle East is witnessing a historic change, one with serious implications for Israel’s and the world’s safety. The Sykes-Picot Agreement that shaped the borders around us almost 100 years ago has run its course,” Netanyahu said.
With regards to developments in Jordan, and the looming threat of jihadist fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Netanyahu said Israel needs to “support international efforts to strengthen Jordan and support the Kurdish aspiration for independence.”
“Jordan is a stable country, moderate, has a powerful military and knows how to protect itself, which is in fact why international efforts to support it are worthy,” Netanyahu said.
“Regarding the Kurds, they are a fighting people that have proved their political commitment, political moderation, and deserve political independence,” Netanyahu continued.
Meanwhile, the deputy chairman of Turkey’s ruling party indicated last week that Turkey was willing to accept a Kurdish state in Iraq.
“The Kurds in Iraq can decide for themselves the name and type of state that they want to live in,” Justice and Development Party (AKP) Deputy Chairman Huseyin Celik said.
The statements mark a change of rhetoric for Turkey, which had until now opposed Kurdish independence in Iraq, in fear it would bolster nationalistic aspirations of the Turkish Kurds who make up more than 15 percent of its population