Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman speaks during a news conference in Jerusalem..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed on Friday that Israel offer monetary incentives to its Arab citizens who do not identify with the Jewish state in order to encourage them to move to a future Palestinian state.
"Those who decide that their identity is Palestinian can forfeit their Israeli citizenship and move and become a citizens of the future Palestinian state," Liberman proposed on the Israel Beytenu website in an updated version of his party's platform.
Liberman's statement added that Israel should encourage such an arrangement "through a system of economic incentives" in order to "solve the problem of duality" faced by some.
Under such an plan, Israeli Arabs would be able "to decide, both consiously and practicably, if they are part of the State of Israel or Palestine," Liberman propositioned.
The foreign minister argued that such a move could be relevant to the predominately Arab populations in the so-called Triangle region and Wadi Ara as well as those in cities with large Arab and Jewish populaces such as Jaffa and Akko.
Liberman has previously spoken about redrawing borders but not about using sweeteners to encourage Arabs to uproot to a Palestinian state.
Friday's proposals were presented as the coalition faced a crisis
in light of the so-called "Jewish state bill," supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhu, that would define Israel as the Jewish nation state and enshrine certain rights for Jews. Critics say it would discriminate against Arab-Israelis and put religion and ethnicity above democracy.
The bill comes at a time of high tensions in Israel, the West Bank and Jerusalem, where a dispute over access to a religious site sacred to Jews and Muslims alike has ignited Palestinian streets protests and lethal attacks on Jews.