Lieberman proposes peace 'blueprint'

FM writes some Arabs' Israeli citizenship can legally be removed.

June 24, 2010 04:17
2 minute read.
Lieberman on the way to a cabinet meeting on Thurs

Lieberman worried 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski )

Arguing that “history is moving away from attempts to accommodate competing national aspirations in a single state,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Thursday issued a highly specific demand for “an exchange of populated territories” that would place many Israeli Arabs inside a new Palestinian state.

In an op-ed that appears in Thursday’s Jerusalem Post, he stressed that this would not require “physical population transfer or the demolition of houses,” but rather “creating a border where none existed, according to demographics...”

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He added: “Those Arabs who were in Israel will now receive Palestinian citizenship.”

Calling the article “my blueprint for a resolution to the conflict,” the foreign minister wrote that the increasing pressure from the international community for Israel to return to the pre- 1967 armistice lines had no legal basis, and that “appeasing the maximalist territorial demands of the Palestinians” would not resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Rather, he wrote, “the conflict will inevitably pass beyond those borders and into Israel.”

Essentially, he elaborated, the international community is pushing “to create a homogeneous pure Palestinian state and a bi-national state in Israel. This becomes the one and a half to half state solution. For lasting peace and security we need to create a true political division between Arabs and Jews, with each enjoying self-determination.

“Therefore, for a lasting and fair solution,” Lieberman added, “there needs to be an exchange of populated territories to create two largely homogeneous states, one Jewish Israeli and the other Arab Palestinian. Of course, this is not to preclude that minorities will remain in either state where they will receive full civil rights.”

Preempting anticipated criticism that it would be illegal to remove citizenship from Israeli Arabs who found the border had been moved, placing them in Palestine, Lieberman cited United Nations General Assembly Resolution 55/153, written in 2001, to the effect that: “When part of the territory of a State is transferred by that State to another State, the successor State shall attribute its nationality to the persons concerned who have their habitual residence in the transferred territory and the predecessor State shall withdraw its nationality from such persons.”

As for likely objections from the affected Arabs, Lieberman wrote: “Firstly, we need to beg the question why Arabs who claim to support Palestinian national aspirations would reject this plan.”

But ultimately, he called for a referendum among all Israelis to resolve the matter: “I believe that we can put this to a referendum including all of the citizens of Israel and let them decide. I have no doubt that the citizens of the State of Israel, regardless of race or religion, will show political maturity to ensure a lasting peace which is in the best interests of all.”

Lieberman’s op-ed article comes a day after he more vaguely urged Kadima to “accept the principle of trading territory and population as the solution to the Palestinian issue, and give up the principle of land for peace.”

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