Knesset members lash out at Livni

Pines accuses FM of "Lieberman-like" oratory; minister: MKs must recognize Israel as Jewish state.

livni 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
livni 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Responding to the furor over her comments Sunday morning that Israeli Arabs would have a place in a future Palestinian state, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni clarified that "wherever Israeli Arabs choose to live, they will get full rights, whether it is here or in a Palestinian state." Earlier, Arab Knesset members accused Livni of trying to undermine the rights of Arabs, following an incident in which she said the establishment of a Palestinian state would be a solution for all Palestinians, whether in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank or Israel. "Livni is looking for ways to continue to undermine Arabs living in this land and relegate them to 'B'-class citizens," said Balad Party chairman Jamal Zahalka. "Her words show her true colors." Hadash Chairman Muhammad Barakei called the foreign minister's words "an escalation in Livni's and her government's arrogance." "The moderate right is becoming more and more extreme," added Barakei. "Apparently over 20 years ago, Livni the child did not learn that the Arab Palestinians in Israel are natives, living in their homeland, and did not immigrate from anywhere else as Israel did." Livni, who made the comments following a meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, had criticized MK Ahmed Tibi (UAL) for his statements encouraging the Palestinians not to agree to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. "Those supporting the establishment of a Palestinian state as a national solution to the Palestinians cannot have it both ways - to demand the establishment of such a state, and at the same time act from within against the existence of the Jewish nation state," said Livni. MK Ophir Paz-Pines (Labor) compared Livni's comments to those of Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has supported population swaps with a future Palestinian state. "The statement sounds like something that came out of the mouth of Avigdor Lieberman, and does not befit her," Paz-Pines said. "Israel is the home of the Jewish people, but we mustn't forget that it is also the home and country of non-Jewish citizens. The Palestinian state will serve as a solution to the [Palestinian] refugee problem, but not for Arab-Israelis." Right-wing MKs also slammed Livni for endorsing a Palestinian state ahead of the upcoming peace summit in Annapolis. "Tzipi Livni wants to give another country to the Palestinians," said MK Arye Eldad (NU-NRP), who contended that the Palestinians already had a state in Jordan, where 70 percent of the population is Palestinian. "She thinks that Arab-Israelis will be satisfied with another country. Whoever gives up Judea and Samaria will not be able to stop [and will give up] the Galilee and the Negev [as well]." staff contributed to this report.