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The establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (the West Bank), as proposed in plans such as the "Road Map," will only prolong the Arab-Israeli conflict and exact a heavy toll in human life.
As in previous failed agreements, this current one also defers the solution of the real problems that perpetuate the conflict:
Within a short time, these unresolved problems will resurface and draw the region into yet another war.
While based on the principle of "two states for two nations," the proposed Road Map does not achieve that goal.
It is not a "two state solution" at all. Without the complete destruction of Israel, Palestinians can only be offered a state-like entity, unable to sign international agreements, without an army and made up of a number of small and overcrowded fragments of territory.
This quasi-state would not have natural borders. Rather, population centers on both sides will straddle the border, perpetuating continued friction between Israelis and Palestinians.
The Palestinian entity's economy will be permanently dependent on Israel.
This entity would be an Israeli protectorate, leading to an intensification of the sense of humiliation felt by Palestinian Arabs who would aspire to encroach further into Israeli territory.
The refugee problem will not be solved through this entity and Palestinian Arab demands for the right of return will continue to threaten Israel's existence. The motivation for terror will remain high.
From every aspect geographic, economic and demographic it is clear that it will be impossible to resolve the problem within the small, overcrowded area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Why after the failure of the Oslo agreements are we reverting to a model already proven catastrophic for both sides?
It is clear that what is needed is a paradigm shift.
Only with application of a regional solution that includes the entire territory of British Mandatory Palestine (land of Israel) can the peace process be delivered from its impasse. A regional solution based on geopolitical and economic logic can provide the Middle East with long-term peace, prosperity and stability.
The American and British victory in Iraq has spurred an American commitment to instill democratic values in the Middle East and establish a new political map. This is a historic opportunity to enable the Arab nations to be part of the solution to the Palestinian problem and garner international support and funding.
The Elon Peace Plan addresses the fundamental issues related to the conflict and offers a comprehensive solution for Israel, Palestinian Arabs and surrounding countries.
Expanding the solution to include both sides of the Jordan River creates a new reality in which:
Dealing directly with final-status issues, the Elon Peace Plan offers:
CLARIFICATION OF KEY PRINCIPLES
[Note: Bold numbered paragraphs below refer to the
items listed in Key Principles of the Elon Peace Plan (see above)]
THE DISSOLUTION OF THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY AND THE WAR ON TERROR:
1. Immediate dissolution of the Palestinian Authority, a non-viable entity with no future whose existence precludes the termination of the conflict.
2. Israel will uproot the Palestinian terror infrastructure. All arms will be collected, incitement will be stopped and all the refugee camps, which serve as incubators for terror, will be dismantled. Terrorists and their direct collaborators will be deported.
After the eradication of the Taliban and the regime of Saddam Hussein, it follows logically that another of the world's most dangerous regimes, the Palestinian Authority (PA), be immediately dissolved:
The absence of responsible leadership in Judea, Samaria and Gaza encourages criminal activity, Islamic extremism and long-term damage to the infrastructure and ecology of the region. Israeli control over Judea, Samaria and Gaza will be a stabilizing influence.
The establishment of a Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would:
Such a state, dissected, demilitarized, its economy totally dependent on Israel, would evolve into a protectorate whose main function would be to supply cheap labor to the State of Israel.
It would be unable to provide its citizens with national pride, civic freedoms or economic hope, and offers no solution to the refugee problem.
The Camp David talks between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat in the summer of 2000 brought in their wake an unprecedented wave of terror. With the encouragement and funding of the Palestinian Authority, many hundreds of Israelis have been killed and thousands injured in terror attacks. Proportionately, Israel has sustained losses equivalent to ten times the number of Americans killed in the 9/11 tragedy.
Israel's generous territorial offers and support of the Palestinian Authority did not stop the terror. Furthermore, equipping it with arms caused terror to mushroom to intolerable proportions.
Israel's intense and relentless military activity against the terrorist strongholds in the Palestinian Authority led to a dramatic drop in the number of attacks.
Today more than ever, the world understands that the only way to fight terror is weapon caches were discovered and from by firm and unequivocal action. Israel has the means to dismantle the Palestinian Authority and its security apparatus quickly and efficiently.
The refugee camps lying alongside the Arab cities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza must be dismantled.
Dominated by poverty, despair and virulent hatred, the refugee camps breed terror. They produce the motivation for terror and enable terror squads to be formed, providing them with a safe haven. The population of the camps is at the mercy of terrorists and provides cover for their activities.
The continued existence of these camps more than fifty years after they were established is a humanitarian disgrace as well as a threat to the security and peace of the Middle East.
The dismantling of the camps combined with the establishment of a mechanism to rehabilitate the refugees will strike a mortal blow to the terror infrastructure.
3. Israel, the United States and the international community will recognize the Kingdom of Jordan as the only legitimate representative of the Palestinians. Jordan will once again recognize itself as the Palestinian nation-state.
In the context of a regional economic development program, Israel, the United States and the international community will put forth a concerted effort for the long-term development of Jordan, to rehabilitate its economy and enable it to absorb a limited number of Palestinian refugees within its borders.
After Jordan's invasion of Israel in 1948, it unilaterally annexed Judea and Samaria and granted citizenship to all its population, both residents and refugees. It enacted a number of major constitutional amendments expressing Palestinian-Jordanian unity.
For many years, the PLO competed with Jordan over who represents the Palestinian Arabs. Only after Israel's weak response to the first "intifada" in 1987, and the subsequent strenghtening of the PLO, which resulted in Israel viewing the PLO as the representative of the Palestinian Arabs, did Jordan withdraw from its connection with the "West Bank."
The new reality in the Middle East provides a historic opportunity to rectify that error and once again establish Jordan as the Palestinian nation-state - the exclusive representative of the Palestinian Arabs.
As a Palestinian state, Jordan-Palestine will grant citizenship to all Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Even if they choose to continue to live in Israel, these citizens will enjoy national and political rights in the Palestinian state, whose capital is Amman, less than an hour's drive from Jerusalem.
NOTE: In February 2003 twenty two Palestinian unions in Judea, Samaria and Gaza appealed secretly to King Abdallah for his economic intervention in these areas despite their knowledge of Arafat's strong objection to such machinations. This act testifies to the fact that the current mood would support the renewed link with Jordan and the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority.
A Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would in fact mean the establishment of a second Palestinian state.
This would not be a solution of "two states for two nations," but rather "three states for two nations" one for the Jews and two for the Palestinians.
A second Palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza would pose a threat to both Israel and Jordan. It would serve as a springboard to turn all of the land of Israel from the Iraqi desert to the Mediterranean Sea into a single Palestinian Arab state.
The current Jordanian regime is friendly to Israel and for the most part pro-Western. Its stability, however, is currently in danger because of its delicate geopolitical status. The lack of clarity concerning the status of its Palestinian majority and the danger posed to it by the establishment of an additional Palestinian state would foment unrest among the Palestinian population of Jordan against the government.
The dissolution of the Palestinian Authority and the subjugation of the PLO establishment would elicit a sigh of relief in Amman and pave the way for the underscoring of the Palestinian character of Jordan, whose absolute majority - including the Queen and numerous senior government officials - is Palestinian.
A comprehensive development program for Jordan, accompanied by moderate reforms to bolster its Palestinian character, is likely to be welcomed in Amman and would move the kingdom forward to a more hopeful future.
Jordan's principal problems are economic. It could be significantly strengthened by Israel and the United States in the context of a regional "Marshall Plan" integrated with the rebuilding of Iraq.
A comprehensive, internationally funded development plan for Jordan, most of whose territory is undeveloped, would facilitate the absorption and naturalization of the Arabs of Judea, Samaria and Gaza.
Israel has a profound interest in the development of Jordan as a Palestinian state. The transfer to Jordan of significant portions of American military aid to the Middle East could significantly transform Jordan's economy.
The normalization of relations and cessation of hostilities would significantly reduce the need for major U.S. foreign defense aid, part of which could also be reallocated to boost Jordan's economy.
4. Israeli sovereignty will be asserted over Judea, Samaria and Gaza (the West Bank). The Arab residents of these areas will become citizens of the Palestinian state in Jordan. The status of these citizens, their connection to the two states and the manner of administration of their communal lives, will be decided in an agreement between the governments of Israel and Jordan (Palestine).
The areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including the eastern part of Jerusalem, were part of the British mandate territory that was intended for the establishment of the Jewish homeland. Since the end of the British mandate, these areas have not received any recognized legal status. They were annexed by Jordan after the War of Independence, but were never recognized as part of Jordan in international law. During the Six Day War in 1967, Israel liberated these territories and returned them to the Jewish people. Eastern Jerusalem was officially annexed to the State of Israel in 1981.
The status of the remainder of these areas remained unclear. Israel evaded determining the future of these areas. This encouraged Palestinian aspirations for establishing an additional Palestinian state in these areas, which, through their topographical advantage, directly threaten the densely populated Israeli coastal plain and Jerusalem basin.
The areas of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are one of the only places in the western world where Jews cannot move without fear, where extensive Arab criminal activity is openly carried out and where there is wide-spread abuse of environmental issues. Assertion of Israeli sovereignty on these areas will end this grave situation.
As part of the plan to end the conflict and create a new and stable map in the Middle East, the border between Palestine and Israel must be drawn at the Jordan River, and all the areas west of the Jordan must be formally annexed to the State of Israel.
Judea and Samaria represent the historical "spinal cord" of the land of Israel. The central mountain range, whose heart is Jerusalem, reminds us of who we are. It was here that Abraham walked with his son, Isaac and here Jacob set up his tents. It was here that our forefathers, under Joshua, conquered this land by divine decree from the Canaanite nations.
In the hills of Judea and Samaria we find dozens of holy sites and a myriad of others with historic importance, many of which have not yet been researched. The handing over of Beit El, Shiloh, Bethlehem and Hebron to foreign (hostile) hands would signify the severance of the Jewish people from its roots and lead ultimately to the loss of recognition of their right to the land.
Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel, is surrounded on three sides by Judea and Samaria. Whoever is concerned for the future of Jerusalem and is aware of its centrality in the prophetic vision of the return to Zion cannot allow it to become once again a border settlement in the heart of hostile Arab land.
In the hills of Judea and Samaria and the Gazan coastal plain we have witnessed the development of Jewish villages and towns that manifest national strength and exceptional individual and communal quality. Unsettling these places would be a devastating moral blow to Israel that is liable to damage the very fabric of society and create a severe civil crisis.
In the framework of the eradication of terror, the terrorist heads and inciters will be deported from Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The dismantling of the refugee camps, part of the rehabilitation process, will reduce the Arab population in these areas and lessen the poverty and density in the Palestinian Arab towns.
The Arab population that will continue to reside within the new areas of the State of Israel, will benefit from the civil rights conferred by Israel, but its citizenship will be Palestinian, and its political rights will be actualized in Amman. The actual administration governing the Arab sector will derive its authority from the Israeli sovereign, but will enjoy limited autonomy in a form to be determined in negotiations between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine.
The negotiations with the Hashemite Kingdom regarding the precise status of the residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza will differ in its essence from those conducted until today between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. When the two parties to discussions are sovereign nations, both of whom are interested in stability and peace, it is possible to reach a real solution. It is even possible to postpone some of the harder decisions for the future, with the confidence that a positive dynamic of cooperation and mutual interests will develop over the years. As is well known, agreements between democratic nations last for many years. Israel is a true democracy, while the Hashemite Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy undergoing a process of democratization. It has one of the most progressive regimes in the Arab world, with a clearly pro- Western orientation.
5. Israel, the United States and the international community will allocate resources for the completion of the exchange of populations that began in 1948 and the full rehabilitation of the refugees and their absorption and naturalization in various countries.
6. After implementation of the above stages, Israel and Jordan-Palestine will declare the conflict terminated. Both sides will work to normalize peaceful relations between all parties in the region.
The refugee problem in the Middle East has burgeoned into dangerous proportions, in sharp contrast with all other refugee populations from the 1940s, who were resettled and rehabilitated decades ago.
From a few hundred thousand Arab refugees in 1948, Palestinian refugees now number in the millions, including second and third generations. Their refugee status is not only the product of education and propaganda, but also the result of many years of neglect and lack of desire on the part of the Arab world to rehabilitate them.
The resolution of the refugee problem must be a primary element of any final status arrangement. For many years the Arab world has done its best not to rehabilitate the refugees in order to undermine Israel's right to exist.
An important ingredient in the resolution of the refugee issue is predicated on international insistence on the need to rehabilitate the refugees and the reallocation of American foreign defense aid to the absorption of refugees.
The relocation and rehabilitation of the Palestinian refugees in Arab lands will complete the population exchange process begun in the 1940s:
At the same time, the 1948 War of Independence created hundreds of thousands of Arab refugees who fled to Arab lands.
While the Jews displaced from Arab lands were rehabilitated and naturalized in Israel, the Arab countries refused to do the same for Arab refugees.
The resettlement of these refugees and their descendants will complete a historic circle of population exchange. This will result in the emergence of countries where the majority of their population shares a common nationality and culture.
Various peace processes initiated between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs until now have all failed to bring about the end of the conflict. The principal reason for this is that the PLO, the Palestinian Authority and its leaders remain intransigent and have no interest in terminating the conflict. This is indicative of the fact that the PA is not a genuine peace partner and in fact is a hindrance to peace.
In contrast, however, the Elon Peace Plan can bring about the end of the conflict, because:
No other proposal addresses final-status issues. The Elon plan offers a way to translate the achievements of the war in Iraq into a new "Marshall Plan" for the Middle East, a plan that is based, on the one hand on Israel, the only stable democracy in the region, and, on the other, on Jordan which has a quasi- democratic government, thus removing the Palestinian terrorist regime from the picture.
The Elon Peace Plan manifests:
Two states for two nations on either side of the Jordan River. This solution offers a natural and logical border, separation of hostile populations and an end to the human tragedy that has continued since the War of Independence.
This plan grants the Palestinian Arabs citizenship in a real state that has the ability to sustain itself economically and politically, with clear and final borders. This state would not find itself in constant conflict with Israel and its future would not be predicated on the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state.
This plan prioritizes the treatment of human issues over empty symbols. "Peace" proposals that are based on continued conflict perpetuate poverty, violence and ignorance. The Elon Peace Plan brings about a solution to the Palestinians' suffering without capitulating to terror and violence.
An Israeli withdrawal of any kind would severely harm Israel's national strength while reinforcing the motivation for terror. The Elon Peace Plan preserves Israel's deterrent capabilities, making it possible for the first time to delineate secure and recognized borders.
The secure existence of Israel corrects a historic injustice. The essence of Zionism is to establish a state for the Jewish people, a safe haven for millions of Jewish refugees from all over the world including from the Arab countries.
The Arab world must be involved in a resolution of the Arab refugee issue, using its vast territorial expanses and abundant natural resources.
This is not only justice in its most elementary sense that of human decency but also draws on deep Biblical sources, which view the Jewish people as a nation with a unique destiny and place in history.
This plan is founded on the fundamental historic and Biblical truth that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.
However, it realizes only part of this principle because it accepts the existence of a Palestinian state east of the Jordan River, part of the Biblical land of Israel.
The realization of the Zionist dream the return of the Jewish people to its land from all corners of the earth is a historic event of global significance.
Only when Israel's Arab neighbors accept its right to exist within secure boundaries as a fundamental reality, will regional peace and prosperity be achieved.
Binyamin (Benny) Elon is serving his second term as Tourism
Minister of the State of Israel and is also the chairman of the
Moledet Party. He is a ninth-generation Jerusalemite and has Rabbinic
ordination. He has been working to preserve the unity of Jerusalem as
Israel's undivided and eternal capital and the integrity of Judea and
Samaria, Israel's heartland.
He is well known, not only for his political acumen, but for his
ability to translate his sound, ideological philosophies into facts on
the ground. Jerusalem continues to be strengthened by his efforts to
reclaim Jewish neighborhoods in all parts of the city, rendering any
division of Israel's capital untenable.
More information can be found at http://www.therightroadtopeace.com.
He is well known, not only for his political acumen, but for his ability to translate his sound, ideological philosophies into facts on the ground. Jerusalem continues to be strengthened by his efforts to reclaim Jewish neighborhoods in all parts of the city, rendering any division of Israel's capital untenable.
More information can be found at http://www.therightroadtopeace.com.
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