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Israel army reinforces Jordan Valley ahead of Trump plan

While details of the US proposal remain secret, it may seek to give Israel the green light to annex the Jordan Valley, a strategic area along the border with Jordan that constitutes around 30 percent of the West Bank

AFP , Tuesday 28 Jan 2020
Jordan Valley
The landscape is seen from a lookout point near the Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Yericho in the Jordan Valley in the Israeli-occupied West Bank (Photo: Reuters)
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The Israeli army said Tuesday it was beefing up forces in the Jordan Valley, a swathe of the occupied West Bank expected to feature in US President Donald Trump's long-awaited peace plan.

"Following the ongoing situation assessment conducted in the IDF, it has been decided to reinforce the Jordan Valley area with infantry troops," the military said in a statement.

Trump was due to release his plan, years in the works, at the White House later Tuesday together with his close ally Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Palestinians, who accuse Trump of pro-Israel bias, were not taking part in the Washington event and have rejected the plan and any US role as peacemaker.

While details of the US proposal remain secret, it may seek to give Israel the green light to annex the Jordan Valley, a strategic area along the border with Jordan that constitutes around 30 percent of the West Bank.

During a tour of the valley on Monday, Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri said they were taking steps towards the move -- a central election promise of right-winger Netanyahu.

"As interior minister I'd like to tell you, we've started to prepare for an annexation -- we are getting the paperwork ready," Deri said.

Palestinians were planning protests in the West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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