Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman: Suddenly, Israel’s Arabs are Zionists?
by Gidon Ben-zvi
In a strongly-worded Facebook post published on Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman questioned the sincerity of those who oppose his territory swap proposal that would result in Israel ceding sovereignty over 10 towns, home to 300,000 Israeli-Arabs, along the Green Line.
The region in question is known as the ‘Triangle’, an area that is split between the Central and Haifa Districts of Israel. Since Israel’s founding, the Triangle has developed economically under Israeli sovereignty, while it is split politically – with three towns surrounding the small city of Umm al-Fahm, around the lush Wadi Ara, in the north, being separate from the five surrounding towns around Taibe, in the south.
The tone of Lieberman’s Facebook posting was decidedly sarcastic: “The Arabs of Wadi Ara have suddenly become ardent Zionists,” he said. “In interviews with residents of Umm al-Fahm on various television channels, we saw the ones who instead of celebrating Independence Day mark ‘Nakba Day’ and fly black flags instead of Israeli ones, the ones whose rallies feature pictures of Nasrallah and the flags of Hamas and Hezbollah – the very same people are now furious over the idea that they will become citizens of a Palestinian state in a peace agreement that includes swapping of land and populations.”
The foreign minister also leveled a charge of hypocrisy against the “bleeding hearts,” who “say that the Arabs are not an object that can be moved from one country’s sovereignty to another.” According to Lieberman, these same political liberals never expressed outrage when in the Geneva Accords of 2003, “…Yossi Beilin wanted to transfer the Arabs of east Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty and confiscate their IDs, nor did they bat an eyelash when the residents of Sinai or Gush Katif were physically transferred…”
Lieberman concluded by citing historical precedent in defending the merits of his land swap proposal.
“There are numerous historical precedents for the swapping of territories and populations, as well as moving borders so as to create homogeneous countries, and end local disputes,” he said.
Lieberman asserted that “there is no reason to think that this is impossible… [Referring to the famous quote of the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl] If you will it, it is no dream!'”
Lieberman’s land swap proposal was made in relation to the current ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.