Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman lashed out at Israeli Arab leaders on Sunday for “cynically exploiting” far-right vandalism and arson against Arab property while vowing to “do all he can to ensure that Umm el-Fahm will be part of a Palestinian state, and not the State of Israel.”
In a lengthy post on his Hebrew-language Facebook page, Liberman said that while he condemns “hooligans” who carry out so-called “price tag” policy of destroying property in hopes of deterring the government from negotiating peace with the Palestinians, it “no less boils the blood… to see Arab members of Knesset and other extremist elements in the Arab community, like Sheikh Raed Salah and MK Jamal Zahalka, ‘jump on the bandwagon’ as if it was the greatest gift they have ever received and inflate the issue to the point of lashing out and inciting against the State of Israel.”
The comments were a reaction to the latest act of vandalism against a mosque in the northern Israeli Arab town of Umm al-Fahm. The door of the mosque was set alight, and racist graffiti was found sprayed on the walls. Nonetheless, Liberman bitterly criticized Israeli Arab politicians for what he perceives as making political hay from these incidents.
“Their behavior once again proves that they have long seen become a fifth column whose entire objective is to destroy the state in which they live,” Liberman wrote. “To that end, they are willing to exploit every incident and every insane person.”
“These people, just like the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, have never worked to bring Jews and Arabs together and to reduce tensions,” the foreign minister wrote. “On the contrary, they have only fanned the flames and increased hatred.”