Daily Israel Report

Benny Elon Presented "Jordan is Palestine" Plan to Prince Hassan

MK Benny Elon, whom Prime Minister Sharon fired from his position as Tourism Minister because of his opposition to the disengagement/expulsion plan, presented his Jordan is Palestine plan to Jordan's Prince Hassan.
First Publish: 8/17/2004, 3:44 PM / Last Update: 8/16/2004, 12:19 PM

MK Benny Elon, whom Prime Minister Sharon fired from his position as Tourism Minister because of his opposition to the disengagement/expulsion plan, presented his "Jordan is Palestine" plan to Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan.

Elon disclosed to Arutz-7 today that his meetings with Hassan and other Jordanian officials took place several months ago in Geneva, while he was still a Cabinet minister. He said that the Prince said that his country would be hard-put to accept such a plan because it doesn't trust Israel: "They saw what happened in Lebanon [with the sudden abandonment of the Southern Lebanese Army - ed.] and with the collaborators in Yesha [Judea, Samaria and Gaza]," and also that Israel always gave precedence to diplomatic initiatives with the Palestinian Authority as opposed to with Jordan.

Despite this reaction, MK Elon feels that if and when the U.S. agrees to recognize Jordan as "the representative of the Palestinians, and treats Israel-Jordan as the democratic axis in this region," including significant economic aid to Jordan, "our neighboring kingdom's leadership will view this plan much more sympathetically."

MK Elon headed Yeshivat Beit Orot in Jerusalem before entering politics, and succeeded the murdered Rehavam Ze'evi as head of the Moledet Party. The Elon peace plan, entitled "The Right Road to Peace," calls for the residents of the refugee camps to be
resettled in Arab countries, while other Arabs living in Yesha will become Jordanian citizens. "The first to go [to Jordan] will be the terrorists, of course," Elon said, "while those with property here and who have been living here for generations - they held Jordanian citizenship up until 1988, when King Hussein took it away - will continue to live in Judea and Samaria, but with renewed Jordanian citizenship."

MK Elon will depart tomorrow for the United States, where he will continue to promote his plan among American leaders. He will also meet there with Jewish and Christian leaders in an attempt to increase their awareness of the dangers and negative ramifications of the establishment of a Palestinian state in the Holy Land.

The Elon Plan, which is being mailed to all Jewish residents of Yesha this week, calls for the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority, which Elon says is an "entity without a future, whose existence precludes the end of the conflict." The plan also calls for Israel to take absolute steps to end Palestinian terrorism, including the collection of all weapons, dismantling of terrorist hotbed refugee camps, and the expulsion of terrorists and their accomplices.

The next step in the Elon Plan is international aid to Jordan in recognition of its role as the only representative of the Palestinian people and to help it absorb a certain amount of refugees. In this connection, Haggai Segal reports that Jordan has greatly restricted, over the past few days, the granting of entry visas to Arab citizens of Judea and Samaria - leaving thousands of Arabs stranded at the bridges and entrances from Israel to Jordan. According to the plan, however, Israel will be sovereign over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with Arab residents receiving Jordanian citizenship.

The last stages of the plan involve an internationally-funded completion of the "exchange of populations" that began in 1948 between Jews of Arab countries and Arabs in Israel. This will include the complete absorption of the former refugees in the various countries. Israel and Jordan will then declare the end of the conflict between them and will establish full and friendly relations.

The plan makes clear that a small, sliced-up and crowded Palestinian state in the areas of Judea and Samaria, aside a threatened and narrow Israel - such as envisioned in the Road Map plan - is a sure recipe for war in the near future.

MK Elon explained that he distributed his plan to the residents of Yesha because, "We saw, during our campaign against the disengagement plan for the Likud Party referendum, that this population has fantastic quality. The determination and the dedication and talents of these people who, by going from house to house, actually changed public opinion [a reference to the fact that the plan enjoyed majority support amongst the Likud membership until the Yesha residents went from house-to-house over the course of 2-3 weeks, leading to a 60%-40% victory against the disengagement - ed.]."

"I believe that if this population studies the plan, and gets to know it, and makes comments on it - we, the [right-wing] politicians, were not able to come up with an agreed-upon plan, but maybe this public will be able to. Just like the Oslo Plan fell, and the Road Map fell, and Sharon and his disengagement will fall - the public will come to us and ask us, 'What do you propose?' - and then, we must not hesitate or stutter! We must have a serious plan, one that is on the table and known, and that is what will win."

Segal asked, "Your problem, however, is not in convincing the Israelis, but rather in persuading Jordan to agree to take on the role you're assigning it."

Elon: "This is something I learned from Arik Sharon. First we have to convince the Israelis, then the Americans, and only then - everyone else. It's inconceivable that we keep looking for a partner, checking what they'll agree to, and building our positions based on that - as [Yossi] Beilin did. I believe that in Jordan we have with whom to talk." Here he disclosed that he had met with Hassan, and that the meeting was "not at all bad." Relating to the understandable Jordanian fear that a surplus of Palestinians will overthrow the Hashemite Kingdom, Elon said, "There is no reason for us to view the situation as if the Palestinian state will be formed there; rather, for us, the Jordanian government as it now stands is much better than any Palestinian Authority that could arise there... In short, Hassan made it clear that under certain circumstances, he could agree to this plan - and that Jordan was originally not even in favor of detaching itself from the Palestinians, as King Hussein did in 1988."

Asked whether he had discussed his plan with Prime Minister Sharon, MK Elon said, "Yes, and more than once. I reminded him that he himself had said many times that Jordan is Palestine. He said that now, however, we have a tactical need for Jordan, in that it does much of the work of protecting our border. This is of course good, but we need to have a comprehensive strategic plan that will end the conflict - as the only one who gains from its perpetuation is Arafat, not Israel. We must know that the British gave up 78% of its mandate - the historic Land of Israel - in order to create a Palestinian state on it; this is much to be regretted, but it is inconceivable that on the remaining 22%, yet another Palestinian state should be formed. We have to know and make it clear - first of all to ourselves - that Sharon wants to return us to the Green Line. He says he wants to preserve the settlement blocs, but really he is fooling everyone, including, possibly, himself; pay no heed to his act of getting upset at Olmert for saying it aloud."