RAMALLAH, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that the Jordan Valley, part of the occupied West Bank, will remain under the Palestinian sovereignty.
Abbas slammed the Israeli Ministerial Committee's symbolic vote earlier this week to annex the Palestinian Jordan Valley, around one third of the West Bank that was occupied by Israel in the 1967 War.
On Sunday, Israel's Ministerial Committee for Legislation passed a bill to annex Jewish settlements in the Jordan Valley to be an official part of the Jewish state.
The bill still needs to be approved by the Knesset (Israeli parliament). If the bill becomes a law, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be unable to accept the U.S. proposal to recognize the Jordan Valley as part of the future Palestinian state and maintain only Israel's military presence in the area.
"Certainly, we won't let them (Israelis) annex the Jordan Valley... It is our land, it is a redline, and (it) will remain a Palestinian land," said Abbas.
Abbas made the remarks while receiving a third group of 26 Palestinian prisoners released by Israel at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Israel released early on Tuesday the third group of 26 prisoners from its jails as part of a U.S.-sponsored agreement with the Palestinian side for resuming direct peace talks.
The prisoners were arrested before signing Oslo peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. They spent more than 20 years in Israeli jails.
Israel occupied the Jordan Valley in the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians accuse Israel of intensive exploitation of the land and water resources of the Jordan Valley to a greater extent than elsewhere in the West Bank, making it annexed de facto to the state of Israel. They have reportedly rejected the U.S. proposal to allow a continued Israeli military presence in the Jordan Valley under a peace deal.
Photo>>>Israeli soldiers patrol in Jordan Valley