Brownback endorses Elon peace plan

Initiative by NU lawmaker calls for annexation of West Bank, dismantling of Palestinian Authority.

elon 224 88 (photo credit: AP [file])
elon 224 88
(photo credit: AP [file])
US Republican presidential candidate Sam Brownback has voiced support for a Mideast peace plan put forward by MK Benny Elon (National Union-NRP) that maintains Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and would recognize Jordan as the official representative of the Palestinians. "This is a realistic proposal and different way forward...which needs to be looked at broadly in the international community," Kansas Senator Sam Brownback said in a videotaped message shown Wednesday at a Jerusalem press conference. Elon's plan calls for recognizing the Kingdom of Jordan as the sole representative of the Palestinians instead of the Palestinian Authority, dismantling UNRWA and the Palestinian refugee camps and the rehabilitation of Palestinian refugees elsewhere. Brownback called the plan "bold, aggressive, clear and workable." The conservative American senator who has close ties to the Christian Right in the US noted that while he does not endorse all aspects of the plan - specifically regarding the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority - it could be the basis for a positive discussion for long-term relations between Israel and the Palestinians. "Land for peace does not work," Brownback said, citing Israel's 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as a case in point. Elon said the long-term proposal constituted a "real, deep conceptual change," that required time, energy, and funding. "This is a national and international information campaign," Elon said at the news conference, which included the taped video remarks of the Republican senator. "If Israel will not be in Judea and Samaria," Elon said, using the Biblical names for the West Bank, "then Hamas will be there." Elon will present his plan, called "The Israeli Initiative - The Right Road to Peace" to President Shimon Peres and Israeli legislators across the political spectrum in the coming days. He also has been holding meetings with parliamentarians and officials around the world in an effort to promote his proposal in the international arena. The hawkish Israeli lawmaker has been at the forefront of Israel's burgeoning relations with the predominantly supportive evangelical community around the world. "We have had enough cocktail parties at the White House with the Nobel prize winner Arafat," Elon said. "Now is the time for a real conceptual change." The parliamentarian's proposal contradicts the two-state solution endorsed by the Israeli Government, and comes as senior government ministers have been talking openly about the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Jordan, which ruled the West Bank from 1948 to 1967, has rejected similar plans in the past and has long urged Israel to accept the formation of a Palestinian state.