Labor central committee members were surprised at Sunday's diplomatic forum when a gentleman wearing a kippa approached everyone in the crowd and gave them a letter calling for the committee to consider adopting National Union chairman Benny Elon's diplomatic plan.Or, to think more outside what's considered "mainstream". I have met both these two men mentioned here personally in years past, and it's a good sign that the Labor party has been asked to consider this plan.
The letter came from Eli Sadan of Ramat Gan, who heads Labor's forum of religious and traditional members. Elon said he had never met Sadan, but that he was not surprised, because he had already received support for the plan from ministers and MKs in Kadima and the Pensioners Party.
"Labor has Peace Now people, but there are also realistic hawks in the party, who think we need to safeguard the state," Sadan said. "Israel has to find a solution and I think the Jordanian option makes the most sense. With all the rocket attacks on Sderot, we need to put on the brakes, and that's what I intend to tell [Labor chairman Ehud] Barak."
Elon's plan, called the Israel Initiative, calls for the dismantling of Palestinian refugee camps, Palestinians in the West Bank becoming citizens of Jordan and Jews in the West Bank remaining there as citizens of Israel.
"We are hearing ricochets from other parties as awareness of the plan grows," Elon said. "I will start an effort soon to sell the plan to MKs across [the] political spectrum."
Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu read from the plan from the podium of the Knesset plenum. Kadima MK Marina Solodkin said she would endorse part of it.
"Benny was right to emphasize the refugee issue in his plan," Solodkin said. "There are of course things in the plan that I disagree with, but if I were the head of a party, I would include in my plan building permanent housing for Palestinians instead of the refugee camps, which are a cradle of discontent."
Elon also received support for elements of the plan from American legislators on a visit to Capitol Hill. Elon, who returned from Washington on Monday, said he had positive meetings with House of Representatives Republican whip Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), Congressman Mike Pence (R-Indiana) and with Congresswoman Shelley Berkley (D-Nevada).
Berkley recently wrote US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice a letter opposing the formation of a Palestinian state. Elon said he saw on his visit to Washington that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was exaggerating about support for the Annapolis summit among decision-makers in the US.
The Israel Initiative began a new online advertising campaign in English and Hebrew ahead of the summit warning of repeating the mistakes of Oslo and Camp David under the slogan, "Danger: recycling. It's time to think outside the box."
Saturday, November 24, 2007
LABOR PARTY ASKED TO CONSIDER A DIPLOMATIC PLAN BY BENNY ELON
Not that I actually support this Knesset member - he does happen to be responsible in his own way for damaging the National Camp movement in the last elections - but this is an interesting development: