Opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu has expanded on his general call for Egyptian and Jordanian intervention in the PA, and says Jordan should send over its PLO brigade.
Speaking with Israeli reporters in Washington on Thursday, the former Prime Minister said that Fatah chief Abu Mazen cannot be expected to maintain law and order in Judea and Samaria on his own. He said that Jordan should dispatch its Palestinian force, known as the Badr Brigade. "The Badr Brigade, which is Jordanian-Palestinian, can create law and order," Netanyahu said.
Jordan is ruled by the Hashemite family, though much of its population is considered "Palestinian."
Ariel and Feiglin Respond
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said, "We have already made the mistake of thinking there is a substitute for the IDF's presence. Wherever the IDF is, things are relatively quiet; and wherever the IDF has left, they shoot at us from there."
Moshe Feiglin, chairman of the Likud Party's Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) faction, responded, "It is very sad that Netanyahu is reviving, via the back door, the Oslo illusion that Palestinian terrorists should protect the State of Israel against other Palestinian terrorists."
Instead of standing firm for the Likud's principles, and for those of the nationalist camp, Netanyahu remains a captive to the conceptions of Beilin and Peres," Feiglin said.
Netanyahu also said that Egypt must be more forceful in manning its border with Gaza, where tons of arms and explosives have been smuggled in during the past two years. Shortly after Israel quit Gaza in the summer of 2005, it also left the Philadelphi Route on the southern Gaza border in the hands of Egyptian and European Union monitors.
Netanyahu, who met in Washington with presidential candidates Hilary Clinton and Fred Thompson, earlier explained to CNN his position: "Palestinian society is not functional. On the one hand, it is ruled by extremist Islam and is supported by Iran, and on the other hand, it is led by a moderate but weak regime. The moderate elements must be strengthened... I think that [PA Chairman] Abu Mazen has good intentions. The fact that he called Hamas 'terrorists and murderers' is important... I hope that his recent statements indicate that he plans to fight terrorists wherever they are. Therefore, until he does this, we see that his leadership is too weak to take the Palestinians along a new path."
Netanyahu said that in both Lebanon and Gaza, Israel had created Iranian bases on its border by withdrawing unilaterally. "What's clear to me is that we must not make the same mistake in [Judea and Samaria]. We must isolate Hamas and strengthen the moderates with the help of our neighbors.... It is clear to all that in the Middle East there are extremists supported by Iran and Al-Qaeda, and, on the other side, moderates. The Arab nations can already say clearly that extremist Islam is a common enemy to both themselves and Israel."
Shalom: They're Too Old
Netanyahu's party colleague MK Silvan Shalom, who does not hide his plans to challenge Netanyahu for leadership of the Likud, was quick to criticize the proposal. He opposes the idea not on ideological or strategic grounds, but rather because of the age of the Badr force members.
"The members of the Badr Brigade have been there for many years," Shalom said, "and they are not the ones to bring order, chase after Palestinians, confiscate weapons and arrest them. Expecting Palestinians to do the job against Palestinians is silly."
Olmert and Livni
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is scheduled to hold a four-way summit next week with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, King Abdullah of Jordan, and Abbas (Abu Mazen).
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said this week that Israel refuses to calmly accept a situation of Hamas rule in Gaza, "and we are therefore continuing to act militarily and diplomatically there."