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PM Attacks Elon´s Peace Efforts

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sharply attacked efforts by Tourism Minister Benny Elon (National Union) to enlist support abroad for his new peace plan in place of the Road Map.
First Publish: 5/4/2003, 8:30 PM

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon sharply attacked efforts by Tourism Minister Benny Elon (National Union) to enlist support abroad for his new peace plan in place of the Road Map. Elon is currently in the U.S. where he is meeting with Congressional and other leaders to convince them of the viability of his plan. Calling it the "genuine two-state solution," the Elon plan posits that the Palestinian Authority is an "entity without a future, whose existence prevents the end of the conflict." Elon says that Jordan must serve as the Palestinian state, Israel must have sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and Arabs who continue to live in those areas will be citizens of Jordan administrated by a local government.

At this morning's Cabinet meeting, Sharon angrily said that ministers must concern themselves only with the affairs of their own ministries. "This system of people traveling abroad for the purposes of their ministries and then dealing with diplomatic issues is unacceptable," Sharon said. "This is not the only time this has happened… Whoever thinks that the government can function by exerting pressures on Congress and from there on the Presidency does not understand the situation, the relations with the U.S., and the campaign that we are waging. This causes heavy damage to Israel… It is a big mistake to go to the U.S. and activate elements against the Administration. It causes great and unnecessary damage and makes our diplomatic campaign harder… Don't deal with these issues in Congress, especially when sometimes this is against the White House."

Elon's National Union party colleague MK Yuri Stern responded on Ynet to Sharon's outburst: "Our absolute opposition to the Road Map and the establishment of a Palestinian state is noted clearly in the coalition guidelines, as is the freedom of action that we have here and abroad against the dangerous ideas of the Road Map." Stern continued, "There is tremendous opposition in the Congress to the Road Map, and the [Israeli] national camp must encourage them and thus help the State of Israel."

Elon, successor to the assassinated Rehavam Ze'evi as head of the Moledet Party in the National Union, said that the Road Map is merely a "rehashing of the decades-old goal of trying to seat two peoples on the western side of the Jordan River" - an objective he calls "unworkable" and "dangerous." Giving the Arabs of Yesha a quasi-state will not solve the fundamental problems of borders and refugees, Elon says, but will instead guarantee the next round of terrorism and warfare.