By Uriel Heilman - 29/7/2012 - www.jta.org
If there’s one thing Danny Danon doesn’t do, it’s shy away from controversy.
Danon, a deputy speaker of the Israeli Knesset and chairman of World Likud, has come under fire for describing African migrants in Israel as a “national plague,” for hosting controversial U.S. TV personality Glenn Beck at the Knesset and for demanding government investigations of left-wing NGOs.
Though Danon is in his first term in the Knesset, his profile is rising quickly on the Israeli political scene -- perhaps more than anything else because of his unapologetically nationalist vision for Israel’s future.
He wants Israel to annex all the Jewish-occupied and uninhabited land in the West Bank. He wants Palestinians living on the remainder of the West Bank to become part of Jordan, Egypt to take control of the Gaza Strip and the international community to reject the establishment of a Palestinian state on the west bank of the Jordan River (it’s fine by him if the Palestinians take over the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan on the east bank). Danon does not believe in land for peace or the two-state solution.
Danon outlines his blueprint for Israel's future in a book due out in September, “Israel: The Will to Prevail," though the book focuses more on history than the details of the blueprint.
“I’m working very hard to present a different approach for the peace process,” Danon told JTA in a recent interview in his Knesset office. “Our goal should be to annex the maximum land with the minimum Arab population,” he said of the West Bank. “We should speak about our rights and not apologize for it. We have biblical rights, historical rights, rights according to international law. We also have common-sense rights: We won the war.”
While his ideas might seem far-fetched and antiquated -- a throwback to notions that haven’t been discussed with much seriousness since the pre-Oslo era -- Danon believes Israelis are warming to them.
“We live in the Middle East; everything is dynamic here. With time it can be feasible,” he said. “I don’t accept that my views are on the fringe. I do believe one day they will be accepted.”
Danon’s detractors fear this is becoming true – in Israel, at least.
“Ostensibly, one could even ignore the existence of this Likud backbencher, but little Danny Danon will be big, the sugar of the Israeli right," Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, a left-wing critic, wrote last summer. "So it's better to pay attention to him now rather than later.”