Jerusalem – A leadings member of Israel’s Knesset, Member Rabbi Benjamin Elon, the chairman of the nine-member National Union opposition party, presented a new political plan, called “The Israeli Initiative,” Monday, based on the rehabilitation of refugees and the dismantling of their camps; strategic cooperation with Jordan; and Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.
“This is an initiative based on alternative, innovative thinking, and would allow us to reach a true peace,” he said.
According to Mr. Elon’s plan, the Palestinian problem requires a humanitarian solution rather than a political one. Instead of giving the Palestinians the territories of Judea and Samaria, the National Union chairman proposes applying Israeli sovereignty there, but the inhabitants of those areas would receive Jordanian citizenship.
“Their status, their affiliation with both countries and the prevailing character of the populated areas would be solidified and detailed in an agreement between the governments of Israel and Jordan,” said Mr. Elon, who believes it will be possible to convince the King of Jordan to assist in the process.
Mr. Elon suggested dismantling UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, as part of the process of rehabilitating the refugees. He said UNRWA “perpetuates the plight of the refugees.” The inhabitants of the refugee camps would be offered “permanent homes, citizenship and a generous rehabilitation grant.”
Mr. Elon said the cost of the initiative is $1 billion, which would be raised by donations. He explained the campaign for the initiative would include a large scale, public relations campaign that would “flood” the country with billboards and that a new Internet site would be built. He claims high-ranking political officials in the United States support the initiative as well.
Israeli Intelligence Prevents Seven Terror Attacks
At the weekly Olmert cabinet meeting, Israeli ministers heard Intelligence Chief or Yuval Diskin report that the security establishment is now succeeding in preventing most of the terror attacks intended for Israel. He said Israel had “succeeded in capturing eight suicide terrorists on their way to committing terror attacks and prevented seven attempts at perpetrating terror attacks inside Israel.”
Mr. Diskin reported to the ministers that despite the slight decrease in Kassam rocket fire over the past month – approximately 80 Kassam rockets compared to more than 100 in the previous month – the main reason for this was an internal decision by the Hamas leadership, rather than any Israeli successes. He said in recent months, the terror organizations in the Gaza Strip are focusing on smuggling arms into that area and preparing for the possibility of a large-scale Israeli Defense Forces operation.
Director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin reported Hamas is determined to continue to control Gaza and even to expand its activity toward Judea and Samaria. He said that as the date of the international conference approaches, the chances increase that Hamas will use terrorism against Israel in order to cause the conference to fail.
Egypt Faces Bedouin Rebellion
The Middle East Newsline has confirmed Egypt faces a new wave of Bedouin unrest in the Sinai Peninsula.
Over the weekend, thousands of Bedouins rioted in the Sinai provincial capital of El Arish in protest of lack of police protection. The riots by the Bedouin tribe of El Fawakhria followed an attack by the rival El Tarabin tribe in the Mediterranean port town.
The El Fawakhria members stormed the local headquarters of the ruling National Democratic Party and torched posters of President Hosni Mubarak. The rioters also damaged a bank and a government building. Police, who were also attacked, opened fire with rubber bullets and tear gas, and at least 20 people were injured. Another 40 Bedouins were said to have been arrested. Bedouins, many of them in possession of firearms, have long complained of discrimination by Egyptian authorities. In 2004, Bedouins began to harbor al-Qaida operatives who attacked such Sinai resort towns as Sharm e-Sheik, Neueiba and Taba.
About 5,000 Sinai Bedouins were said to have been arrested on suspicion of being connected to al-Qaida. Human rights groups have accused Egyptian authorities of torturing many of the detainees.
Egypt Facilitates Incursion Of Islamic Jihad Terrorists
Meanwhile, yesterday morning, the reliable Palestinian news agency MAAN reported Egypt allowed the entry of 30 members of the Islamic Jihad into Gaza through the Rafah Crossing, between Egypt and Gaza.
The Islamic Jihad spokespeople confirmed that they were members of the military wing of the movement, the Al-Quds Brigades, and that these “combatants were abroad for medical treatment.”
Islamic Jihad is the leading movement that takes credit for shelling Israeli civilian communities in southern Israel.
At the same time, Deputy Secretary-General of Islamic Jihad Ziyad Nakhala has said that Palestinian factions will hold a simultaneous conference in order to express their rejection of U.S. plans and stress adherence to unalienable Palestinian rights and principles.
In Damascus, Mr. Nakhala addressed a gathering of Islamic Jihad leaders, in addition to journalists and intellectuals. He stated that all Palestinian factions and independent figures are invited to the conference.
This alternative conference is expected to be held at the beginning of November.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the titular ruler of Gaza, has called on Arab States, especially Egypt and Saudi Arabia, to reconsider their decision to participate in the U.S.-sponsored peace conference in late November.
Though Mr. Haniyeh’s Hamas cabinet still controls the Gaza Strip, his government has been excluded from the conference.
Speaking to a Palestinian newspaper reporter in Gaza over the weekend, Mr. Haniyeh said: “We will address our Arab brothers, namely Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and request that they reconsider any decisions related to the participation in that conference. We will make special reference to Saudi Arabia for its political, historical and religious importance in the Arab world. The same thing applies to Egypt.”
Mr. Haniyeh called on these countries to avoid providing coverage for any “additional abandonment of Palestinian rights.”
Mr. Haniyeh expressed doubt that the conference or the related bilateral talks could reach an agreement that would minimally fulfill Palestinians’ unalienable rights. He noted that Israel is likely to refuse the right of return for Palestinian refugees to take back their homes from 1948, to refuse to establish Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital, and refuse to withdraw from all areas acquired by Israel following the 1967 war.
Head of Hamas’ politburo Khaled Mashaal said on Monday, during a meeting in Mecca, that Israel seeks negotiations with Hamas, but Hamas has refused and is in preparation for a new round of resistance.
According to Saudi newspaper ‘Ukath, Mash’al said that his Damascus office has received several leading U.S. government visitors.
©The Bulletin 2007