A Republican presidential candidate is backing a controversial right-wing campaign to oppose the current peace process between Israelis and Palestinians.
Kansas Senator Sam Brownback announced on Wednesday that he was supporting “The Israeli Initiative: The Right Road to Peace,” a plan proposed Rabbi Binyamin Elon, chairman of Israel’s right-wing National Union Party.
“The combination of [Elon’s proposals] — and not creating a separate Palestinian state — is…a movement forward,” Brownback said in a prerecorded statement that was delivered at a press conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Elon, who supports the transfer of Palestinians out of the West Bank and Gaza, and considers the Palestinian Authority a “danger to the region,” represents the far right of Israeli politics. By endorsing him, Brownback seems to be placing himself to the right of other Republican candidates on Israel policy.
Brownback’s endorsement kicked off a massive advertising campaign for Elon’s proposal, which will consist of 400 billboards in Israel, advertising banners on English-language Web sites, and the distribution of booklets to policy makers in several countries.
Brownback has long been a favorite of Evangelical Christians and has gone out of his way to express support for Israel. He addressed the Knesset in 2004 and has sponsored legislation in favor of moving the American embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
“The Palestinian State solution has failed,” the Israeli Initiative Web site announces. Elon’s alternative plan stresses the sovereignty of Israel over disputed territories and the transfer of Palestinians out of those areas.
Elon proposes that Israel officially annex the West Bank, which he calls by its biblical names, Judea and Samaria. Palestinians who live there would be encouraged to relocate to Jordan, which would grant them citizenship (something Jordan has refused to do since 1988).
“This is the completion of the transfer of [the Palestinian] population that began in 1948,” said Elon spokesman Uri Bank.
Elon also argues that Israel should cease to recognize the Palestinian Authority, and that the P.A.’s arms should be confiscated. This view contrasts with that of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, whose government negotiates with the P.A.