Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman questioned the loyalty of some Israeli Arabs to the State of Israel on Wednesday in response to criticism over his recent statement about a possible future peace agreement with the Palestinians.
Liberman said his party would only support a peace treaty if there were territory and population transfers of Israeli Arabs into a future Palestinian state.
The Foreign Minister quipped about the authenticity of the patriotism of Israeli Arabs in an area of Israel that he suggested could be transferred to a future Palestinian state. "Wadi Ara Arabs have become lovers of Zion" Liberman wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.
Israeli Arabs "who raise Hamas and Hezbollah flags instead of the Israeli flag are changing their tune now that they may become citizens of a Palestinian state," he wrote. "Suddenly they are an integral part of Israel, suddenly Herzl is their national hero."
He commented on what he sees as Abu Mazen's hypocrisy in the matter, stating "Abu Mazen - who works so hard to release Arab-Israeli prisoners in jail for terrorist activities against Israel - is suddenly crying out at the thought that they will become his citizens."
The Israeli-Arab reaction, which Liberman says manifested itself in various television interviews with residents of Umm el-Fahm, comes after remarks by Liberman on Sunday at the Foreign Ministry’s annual meeting of Israel’s ambassadors.
In his suggestion for population and territory transfers the Foreign Minister specifically referred to the area around Wadi Ara and the Little Triangle, a collection of Arab villages next to the Green Line.
Liberman added that there was no reason Israeli Arabs living there “should not join their brethren under full Palestinian sovereignty and become citizens of the future Palestinian state that they want so badly.”