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Sunday, January 11, 2004

Jordan Key to Solving the Problem of YESHA Arabs

Arutz sheva: Assuming that Israel is unable to reach an agreement with the Palestinian Authority, what should be done? Two basic approaches have recently been advanced: one involving unilateral Israeli withdrawals, and another involving Jordan. In fact, three different programs unveiled in the recent past by right-wing figures involve the Hashemite Kingdom.

(I) Most recently, former three-time Defense Minister Moshe Arens has expressed his opinion that Jordan should be Israel's partner in bringing peace and stability to the region. Arens opined in Haaretz this week that a unilateral withdrawal "is myopic vision at its utmost... The underlying assumption of Prime Minister Sharon's policy when he first took office [was that] the first step on the road to peace must be the dismantling of the infrastructure of Palestinian terrorism." Since the PA is "eminently incapable of accomplishing [this], the inescapable conclusion is that a partner for negotiating a settlement with Israel must be someone that is willing to take on the terrorists and is capable of subduing them... Israel has a neighbor to the east, which has demonstrated over the years both the determination and the ability to suppress terrorism. It is Jordan..."

(II) Tourism Minister Benny Elon, for instance, has long proposed that if the goal is a two-state solution, then the Palestinian state already exists - in Jordan. He avers that the Road Map is merely a rehashing of the "unworkable and dangerous" goal of "trying to seat two peoples on the western side of the Jordan River." Elon's plan comprises the following points:
* The Palestinian Authority will be dissolved;

* Israel will put a firm end to Palestinian terrorism by expelling terrorists, collecting weapons, and dismantling terror-hotbed refugee camps;

* The international community will recognize the Hashemite Kingdom as the sole representative of the Palestinians, and will help it economically as it absorbs a limited number of refugees;

* Israel will become sovereign over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and the Arabs living there will be Jordanian citizens living under a form of autonomy yet to be determined;

* The exchange of Jewish and Arab populations begun in 1948 will be completed, and the international community will help rehabilitate the refugees in their new countries;

* Israel and Jordan-Palestine will declare the conflict ended and will work together as neighbors.
(III) Finally, Uzi Cohen, the Deputy Mayor of Raanana and a leading member of the Likud Central Committee, is pushing an initiative to transfer Yesha's Arabs to a relatively empty area in western Jordan. He told Arutz-7 this week about the plan that he presented at the Likud Convention this past Monday night: "There's an area there of about one million dunams [1,000 square kilometers, approx. 10% of the size of Lebanon, and 40% of Luxembourg]. A new state will be established there for the Arabs of Yesha: the Saudis will pay for it, the Americans will build it, and we will plan it, and just like with Israel, little by little all of them would stream into the new state and build it up. Jordan, too, has a problem with Palestinian refugees, which is getting worse and worse. This solution will solve Jordan's problem as well. Once the new state is built and successful, there will be a voluntary emigration to it."
To learn more about YESHA, see this table of community statistics, which you can sort by region, population, date founded or type.