Israeli Arab leaders continued to drum up opposition on Thursday to Foreign
Minister Avigdor Liberman’s proposal for land and population swaps with the
Palestinian Authority as a part of a peace accord with Israel.
had proposed that Israel offer the Palestinian Authority control over towns
inhabited predominantly by Palestinians in exchange for settlements in the West
“Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s statements regarding
territorial swaps are provocative,” said MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al).
“We [Arabs] were in the Triangle before the establishment of the State of
Israel. We didn’t come here on boats or planes.”
“Liberman is an
immigrant,” Tibi said. “If he wants to repartition the land, then let’s do it on
the basis of UN Resolution 181.”
The lawmaker was referring to the
original partition plan proposed by the UN in 1947.Video courtesy of Yasser Okbi.
A senior Yisrael Beytenu source said “it’s very interesting and revealing that
Tibi, who never misses an opportunity to talk about so-called discrimination
against Arab Israelis, now seems so intent on maintaining his ID card and all
the benefits that he enjoys in a country, which he constantly
“This episode demonstrates more than anything else that
Tibi’s whole political life has been nothing but a hypocrisy and a series of
lies,” the source added.
According to the Yisrael Beytenu source, Tibi’s
claim that the Palestinian Authority would not accept population swaps is “just
another chapter in a longstanding list of Arab rejectionism, starting in 1937
with the Peel Plan. The big question should remain why the PA and its president
would not want this gift of a more educated, well-to-do population with an
experience of democracy [Israeli Arabs].”
“This rejection, like all
previous ones, indicates to Israelis that certain Palestinian leaders do not
even see a two state for two people solution at the end of the conflict,” the
Tibi’s comments came during a demonstration in
Beersheba against the Prawer- Begin Plan for Beduin resettlement.
was joined at the demonstration, which drew an estimated 700 protesters, by
fellow United Arab List-Ta’al MKs Ibrahim Sarsour, Masud Gnaim, and Taleb Abu
Also in attendance were Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei and the head of
the Islamic Movement’s northern branch, Sheikh Raed Salah.
waved Palestinian flags and brandished signs bearing the names of 44
unrecognized Beduin villages. Some of the demonstrators sang the Palestinian
Policemen were on the scene to ensure a peaceful
conclusion to the event, which lasted an hour.
Meanwhile on Thursday,
opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) voiced his support for a possible
exchange of territory with a future Palestinian state as part of a peace
“I would be happy to keep Samaria under Israeli sovereignty,
but I would not rule out giving up territory in exchange for Ariel,” Herzog said
to a group of students at Bar-Ilan University.