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Saturday, May 03, 2003

WE MUST OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE: Breaking the Transfer Taboo
By Israel's Minister of Tourism Binyamin Elon

Today, more than ever, people want to hear what Israel's political
Right-wing has to say. We cannot merely condemn the Oslo process; we must
offer an alternative. And we cannot ignore the demographic problem as raised
by the political Left. The idea of population exchange is one that has been
promoted over the years, often scoffed at, or at least disregarded as
unfeasible. It is, in fact, the very tool that is the key to peace in the
Middle East.
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Is transfer moral? This solution is moral for both Jews, who have no other
homeland, and for the Palestinian refugees whose cultural homeland is in
Arab countries, specifically Jordan. The world has now reached the
understanding the there is no peace in bi-national countries, and that there
is a need for separation.

Is transfer acceptable? It seems that the region, in fact the world, is not
prepared to help the refugees or to resettle them in their lands. It is also
a fact that there are no Arab leaders who have agreed to any Zionist
solution. Has any Arab leader agreed to the Peres plan, which leaves
Jerusalem in Jewish hands and the Israel Defense Forces on the Jordanian
Border? The State of Israel must demand the relocation of the refugees as a
precondition for peace within any future negotiations. We cannot relinquish
these lands, and we cannot live peacefully with the Arab population
currently living in them. We also cannot succumb to the current, politically
- correct 'solution' - the creation of an Arab terrorist state, within the
borders of our own country, bent on our ultimate destruction and willing to
sacrifice its women and children towards this end. Our very existence is at
stake.


Is transfer practical? Population transfer is as practical as the entire
Zionist enterprise - the very establishment of a Jewish entity in the midst
of a sea of hostility, seemed impossible. The war of Independence in 1948,
with Israel surrounded by enemy troops, seemed a sure loss for the fledgling
State. We were victorious then and continue to be so throughout our short
existence. Our faith, coupled with our lack of alternative, has kept us here standing
strong, and we will continue to thrive. Transfer is practical, as long as we
search for a true partner in the Arab world, someone who realizes that there
is no choice and this must be the way to peace.
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The Moledet Party platform includes three types of transfer:

1. Voluntary transfer - we will encourage the Arabs of Judea, Samaria & Gaza
to desire transfer, through financial means and other incentives.

2. Transfer during war - The War of Independence created geographic and
demographic changes, after Arab leaders told their people to flee, expecting
to return after crushing the Jews. The Arab leadership must realize that if
they can not live here together with us in peace, they will not live here
together with us at all.


3. Transfer through international agreement - occurs when two countries sign
an agreement stating that for peace, citizens must be moved from place to
place. This was the case for Jews in the Sinai within the framework of the
peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, and this has been the model for
countries around the world. We can implement this here too, under
international auspices, agreeing to two states for two people on two sides
of the Jordan River.

The two sides of the Jordan River, comprising the Biblical Land of Israel
and Balfour's Palestine, are both rightfully ours. Regrettably, the eastern
bank already contains an Arab - Palestinian state. It was Churchill who made
the critical mistake of creating the Hashemite Kingdom in eastern Palestine,
applying the name 'Jordan'. The truth is that even today; over 70% of
Jordan's citizens are Palestinians. The king of Jordan is well aware of the
fact that Arafat is only waiting for the right moment; that after he
receives a small state west of the Jordan River, he will do all he can to
connect it, under his rule, to the Palestinian state called Jordan.

Now, when Arafat's true intentions have been uncovered, we must turn to the
Jordanian option for peace in this region. If and when we have a partner for
diplomatic negations, we can establish two parliaments, one in Amman and one
in Jerusalem; two states for two peoples who can live in peace on two sides
of the Jordan River.


TRANSFER OF RIGHTS
Jordan is Palestine. The Arab residents of Judea and
Samaria can be transferred, without removing them from their homes.
They
will be granted citizenship in the Palestinian Arab state with Amman as
their capital. This is conditional to the dismantling of the refugee camps,
and the relocation of the refugees to housing within Jordan, the Arab League
or other states. Israeli Arabs, who choose not to declare their loyalty to
the Jewish state, can also vote for the Palestinian parliament in Amman -
without being removed from their homes. This is the transfer of rights, not
people. Should the Arab population of Judea, Samaria & Gaza declare war on
us, they will be expelled to their state, on the other side of the Jordan
River.

We must realize that the quest for peace in the Middle East is a regional
challenge, and it goes hand in hand with the need to eradicate terrorism
from all corners of the world.

As we are told: "And I will give peace in the Land, and you shall lie down,
and none shall make you afraid; and I will remove evil beasts from the land
and the sword shall not go through your land..."
(LEVITICUS, 26:6)