Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman on Wednesday braved the rain to take a stand in support of retaining the Jordan Valley in any future status agreement with the Palestinians.
"We cannot secure the state of Israel without maintaining control of the Jordan Valley," he said.
This includes both a military and civilian presence, he clarified.
"The Jordan Valley settlements have contributed to the state and its security. They should remain where they are. We should be looking to strengthen them," Liberman said.
Standing atop of the highest hilltop in the area, overlooking both the valley and the neighboring state of Jordan, Liberman pointed at nearby Jordan. It is the best way to illustrate the importance of the valley, he said, standing under two umbrellas.
It is clear that the Jordan Valley is one of the more sensitive topics in the negotiations with the Palestinians, Liberman commented.
There is a lot of consideration given to the question of whether it can be given to the Palestinians or if an international force should be stationed there, he said, explaining that regional upheavals have helped clarify that Israel cannot risk losing the Jordan Valley.
In support of his security assessment, Liberman cited distinguish military expert Yigal Allon (1918-1980), who also believed the valley had strategic importance to Israel.
"He did not belong to the Right or the Left," Liberman said.
"What he said in 1967, is even more true today," he added.
The valley is located over the pre-1967 border. Palestinians have insisted that it be handed over to them as part of a two state solution.