US Presidential candidate Sam Brownback, a senior Republican senator has endorsed the new Israeli Initiative peace plan put forth by MK Benny Elon, head of the National Union party.
Sen. Brownback’s endorsement was announced at a Wednesday Jerusalem press conference. “I think this is an exciting and bold proposal,” Brownback said. “I’m delighted that Benny Elon has put this forward. I hope a number of people look at it very carefully… It moves away from the idea of land for peace – which has not worked. We have tried this in multiple ways – the Oslo Accords and others. And it just simply has not worked.”
Brownback cited both Gaza and southern Lebanon as examples of relinquishing land that did not bring peace or stability. “Peace did not come. In fact, the opposite came: more war, more bloodshed, more problems…The re-engagement of Jordan and not the creation of a separate Palestinian state is a positive discussion and a moving forward toward a long-term status for the Palestinian people, for the Israeli people and for Jerusalem remaining the united, undivided capital of Israel. I think those things are important."
The senator qualified his statements by saying that he did not support all of the details of the proposal: “I don’t think we should be doing away with the Palestinian Authority in total. I think there needs to be some organizing capacity for the Palestinians. But here is a realistic proposal and a different way forward, so that we don’t go back to old solutions that haven’t been working.”
MK Elon Unveils Plan
Elon told those present that an urgent campaign is needed to convey how important the Arab refugees who fled in 1948 are to the continuation of the state of war against Israel. “The public must be made to realize that they completely believe that Israel is a passing phase that will come to an end and allow them to return to Jaffa and Haifa”. He warned that they are being saved as pawns by the Arab world to activate as the final move in the plan to liquidate the Jewish State.
Elon noted that Fatah chief and PA Chairman Mahmous Abbas refuses to relinquish the so-called “right of return” in his negotiations with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, ahead of the U.S.-backed Annapolis summit.
“We stole from them, according to what they say - their homes, their gardens, their olive trees. We have to take the lead in rehabilitating them with assistance from other entities and states,” Elon said. He sees the rehabilitation of the refugees by the international community, instead of the UN, which currently oversees the maintenance of the camps, as central in ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.
The National Union head said that a paradigm shift toward a regional solution is critical, as the concept of strengthening various terror groups is a failed one. “The idea of creating another Arab state in addition to the 21 already in existence, has no chance to survive. The creation of a Palestinian state will only bring chaos and steps toward it have not brought any good to Palestinians on the ground,” Elon said. “I don’t want peace with Hizbullah. I don’t want to negotiate with Hizbullah. I want peace with Lebanon. I don’t want peace with Hamas in the south. I want peace with Egypt and with Jordan…Now, we are sitting and deciding which terrorist organizations are stronger - Hamas or Fatah. And you think these groups are united? In each group there exist splinter gangs and militias – complete chaos. I want to convince everyone that instead of local solutions trying to create an independent Palestinian state through choosing terror groups, we have to return to the concept of a regional solution.”
MK Elon dismissed claims that the plan is impractical. “I understand that Jordan is afraid. But I have met with high officials in Jordan, including Prince Hassan a few years ago, and afterwards, with many others. And they say, ‘Look, we cannot take a risk. You brought them [Yassir Arafat and the PLO] from Tunis. You created this monster. We have to save ourselves.’ And I understand it. But if the U.S. and the world would back it, if it will be clear that we have a new concept of this logical regional solution, and end the discussion of peace with terrorist organizations…[then] it is not impossible.”
Notable in Elon’s new plan is the removal of the concept of transfer, a central part of his Moledet faction’s platform. “There are Palestinians that are not in refugees camps,” he said at the press conference. “There are Palestinians that were here hundreds of years and have nice houses in Judea and Samaria. They have to stay there. And they can have again Jordanian passports, and people in airports all over the world will treat them with respect. Not like now when they come with passports from the Palestinian Authority and everyone is running away – everyone is afraid.”