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January 2, 2014 5:53 pm

Israeli Arabs Object to Palestinian Authority Rule in Proposed Triangle Swap

avatar by Joshua Levitt

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Israeli-Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, along the Green Line. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli-Arab city of Umm al-Fahm, along the Green Line. Photo: WikiCommons.

Israeli-Arabs and their representatives in the Knesset refuse to consider a territory swap backed by U.S. negotiators at the Israel-PA peace talks, which resumed on Thursday in Jerusalem, according to Israeli press reports.

The swap would see Israel cede sovereignty over 10 towns, home to 300,000 Israeli-Arabs, along the Green Line, in an area called the Triangle, to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for a similar amount of land developed by Jewish settlers.

Deputy Speaker of the KnessetMK Dr. Ahmed Tibi, founder of the Arab Movement for Change Party, Ta’al, said, “This is a bizarre proposal which relates to Arab citizens as chess pieces that can be moved and changed,” according to Israeli daily Ma’ariv on Thursday. “Once we feared for our nationhood and now we fear for our citizenship.”

A senior Israeli source involved in the peace talks told Ma’ariv that the Triangle proposal was being raised “in discussions between Israel and the United States over the issue of land swaps.” According to the source, the idea has become more widely discussed because of the U.S. effort to advance talks, Ma’ariv said.

“Many senior officials on the Israeli side agree with the exchange of territory and population, and the Americans know it’s a possible solution,” he said.

The Triangle, HaMeshulash, in Hebrew, or al-Muthallath, in Arabic, is split between the Central and Haifa Districts of Israel, in the eastern Plain of Sharon, in the Samarian foothills. Its geography, made it important for Israel militarily, and it was awarded to Israel officially in the 1949 Armistice Agreement as part of a swap, with Transjordan receiving Wadi Fukin, in the southern hills of Hebron.

Internally, 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.

Israeli-Arab MK Dr. Afu Agbaria, from the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality Party, Hadash, a resident of Umm al-Fahm, told Ma’ariv, “Citizens in a democracy are not pawns or hostages in the hands of the government.”

While Agbaria is not known as a friend to Israel — in 2010, at the European Parliament, he called for Israeli leaders to be tried at the International Criminal Court, and accused Israel of attacking “its neighbors and its Arab citizens nonstop” during its 62 years of existence — local polls show that most Israeli-Arabs in the Triangle also still prefer being Israeli citizens to the alternative.

In 2000, when the Triangle proposal was first put forward by current Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, a survey conducted by Israeli-Arab weekly Kul al-Arab among 1,000 residents of Umm al-Fahm, found that 83 percent opposed transferring their city to Palestinian Authority rule.

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  • Debby’s Working

    it is funny in a sick way, even the arabs don’t want to live with the PA, what does that tell you

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud (goldie)

    Not much to add or say about the above. Other than last evening I made a complete pig of myself eating an entire box of Turkish delight made in Israel sold in Lidl’s Ireland. Shop there every week and all the good stuff comes from Israel, Italy and France as well as Greece.

    I have supported Israel for as long as I can remember, seen creeps like Arafat and now Abbas try to destroy her. Watched the ’67 and ’73 War and watched Israel rise again from the ashes.

    Now these dumb Arabs have the freedom of speech in the Knesset and their posturing is so stupid and juvenile. Personally democratic or not give them the choice of Israeli passport and all the benefits, or send to them back to Palestine proper, Jordan their real homeland. Yes some one who tends to be idealistic will decry me saying ‘but they’ve been here as long as we Jews’. My answer to you is thus ‘What have the Arabs ever done for the land Judea, Samaria and the Gaza strip?’ You think they can function without Israel? They cannot even turn their electric power on without a damn whinge in Gaza! So they flood the eastern med with their sewage which could endanger fishing and set of another bout of polio, collera or dystentry. Sothey can run a country huh? Do me a favor, their just kids with tantrums led by a bigger kid with a tantrum and Kerry just can’t see it because he is simply too thick. Diplomat indeed!

  • Cabby

    They just don’t get it, do they? This is not about not wanting Arabs in Israel at all, because Israel would still keep the Galilee, which is heavily Arab. This is about the self rule and autonomy of a people. If the Palestinians are a people as they claim to be, then surely as many Palestinians should be incorporated into the State of Palestine, their state, as is feasibly possible, particularly when the borders of a State of Palestine can retain their continuity and integrity? The Wadi Ara Triangle is a region of Palestinian culture and Palestinian loyalties. It’s a center of the Islamic movement. It’s only a natural progression that it should be part of Palestine. In fact, there is also another Triangle as well, further south, which includes Kfar Kassem, which should also be incorporated into Palestine, and in addition, there’s a region of the northern Negev between Beersheba and Arad that contains over 70,000 Bedouin in unrecognized cities. They complain of discrimination by Israel, but maybe Palestine would be better suited to their needs. I say let the exchange begin–both the Triangles, the northern Negev region, and even parts of east Jerusalem, should all become parts of Palestine, because if there is to be a Palestine, it should have territorial continguousness. In return, Israel can keep all major settlement blocs contiguous with Israel’s territory. It’s a very fair exchange, and the Arabs living in these areas need to get over their prejudices against their own people…it’s sickening.

  • Otto Waldmann in Sydney

    It may look like Tibi &Co. suffer from some kiind of political schizophrenia, but they harbour, in fact, genuine desires to have, one day, their own caliphate distinct, once again, from the current PLO/Hamas dark reality. Still an autocratic utopia, because, simplistic or not, we are yet to see ONE SINGLE Arab state entity amiable to ANY democratic principle, but a Tibi State run the Jewish efficient way. it is also symptomatic of the incapacity for cohesiveness of the beligerant spirit instlled in the same people. Generalisations you may say, unsophisticated you may ridicule it, fact is that Israel has created within its excessive ( but necessary )ethos a far better, more educated Arab splinter entity consistent with Jew hatred and better ecquiped the activate its feelings than the primitive mob represented by their “outsiders” cousins. It is also part of a culture of perpetual conflict. A life worth fighting for to death.

  • This shows that hatred and propaganda can only go so far.
    Reality is a different matter all together.

    There is nothing that Israel has said or the Arab and foreign press published since 1948 that has carried the weight of this Palestinian declaration.

  • Miri

    The Arabs don’t want an independent state because then they would have to be responsible for everything they do and the world would be able to blame them for lack of success, including their citizens. Now they can play the underdog, and everyone feels bad for them.
    There is a reason why the Palestinians never agree to any agreement. They don’t really want a state of their own. If they did, they would have to actually run it and prove their ability to take care of their people. They know if they say yes to anything, their supposed dream would actually come true and that terrifies them more than anything else. They don’t want to be in charge of themselves, they want to continue blaming Israel for everything that goes wrong with them and with the world.
    It must be nice to have someone to blame without taking any responsibility on to yourself. Who would want to give that up?

    • Mikas

      Sounds like Americans on welfare!

    • Miri, You are right. This is the key problem. They do not want a state of their own because they could not operate it and would shortly collapse. It is completely unromantic and demanding to take care of sewer, garbage collection, provide reliable police protection, have no corruption, and care for the sick and elderly.
      Israeli forces now provide security and safety to the Palestinians. If they have their own state the Palestinians will fight one another and murder their Palestinian opponents as they have been doing all their existence, and in the Arab countries around the Middle East.
      And most of all, the immense financial donations from the UN (mostly the US) and EU, the highest per capita in the world, will stop and thus the main income of the top leadership in the Palestinian region.

  • kriskristian1

    Wonderful news.

    I hope that Israel is sending this message to every Jew hating/Israel hating country in the world,
    to show the world that even the 5th column in Israel Tibi and Co, do not want to live in an Islamic Arab state, but rather in the “apartheid” Jewish state

    The world must learn the truth. That Israel is the ONLY state in the entire Middle East, where the lives of the Muslums are safe and secure. Where they have all the same freedom and benefits as do Israeli Jews.
    This should also be a lesson to the world to cancel the BDS campaign.
    I hope that one of the worst promoters of the BDS and anti Israel lies,Tutu will learn the truth, if he is willing to learn the truyth

    May God Bless Israel

    • Miri

      Absolutely. This has to be shared with everyone around the world, to show the world that the Israeli Arabs actually want to be in Israel.

  • Joseph Silver

    I think that the Arab citizens of Israel should declare openly and clearly that they prefer to live in the Zionist Jewish State of Israel as a respected ethnic and religious minority,
    OR
    they should be repatriated to the Palestinian Authority, IF they are Palestinians and OBVIOUSLY prefer that.
    Shai is being stupid and naive: The Arabs in Israel are NOT like all the other citizens!
    Look at other ‘minority’ groups in Israel: the Bnei Menashe, the Yemenite Jews, the German Jews, the Moroccan Jews, the Ethiopian Jews, etc.
    Which of these groups support the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state, and conquest by hostile neighbours?
    Which danced on their rooftops and cheered, when missiles from Lebanon fell on Israeli towns a short while ago?
    The Christian Arabs, or at least part of them, have wised up. They realise that life here is better than under Moslem domination and persecution in the neighbouring countries. There are also some Moslems ‘waking up and smelling the coffee’. But not enough.
    Maybe they need this ‘wakeup call’.
    Now I want some coffee! 😉
    Shabbat Shalom,

    • Bryan

      At Josephine Bacon! Brilliant ! You should be the spokesperson for the State of Israel in the West. Abba Eban has been gone a long time. I love it “smell the coffee” and “drink the coffee”. We all love the humor and the irony in a short analysis !

      More power to you and Shabbat Shalom u mevorach!

    • Leslie Satenstein

      The Arabs of Israel do not want to live with Sharia law.
      As well, Arabs in Israel have family that live outside that triangle. If the swap occurs, and one of them wants to visit family, his family will be in Israel, he would be in Palestine, and quite possibly, lose a significant standard of living.

  • It would be interesting to see what would happen if these Arab towns and villages are ceded to the Palestinians. The Palestinians hate the “Jewish Arabs” as they call them and that is why the people of the Triangle do not want to become part of Palestine. There will be dark days ahead for them if they do, and of course, as Miriam has pointed out, there is no welfare state in Palestine so they would lose out financially on a grand scale.

    • Lynne T

      I wish I could believe that the 300,000 Arab residents of the triangle are expressing a wish to remain under Israel’s governance rather than the PA or HAMAS, but suspect that, like their MKs Tibi and Agbaria, want a Palestinian state between the Jordan and the Med, not a land swap.

  • Yoav

    Amazing!Let us put aside for a moment the fact that most Israeli Arabs call themselves Palestinians; Waive PLO and Hamas flags – never an Israeli flag; hate the National anthem, Hatikvah; Hate the name of the State – Israel; Yearn for its destruction; Call for the physical evacuation of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes for the sake of peace – and I can go on and on – yet they are not willing to do their minute share for this peace: Become citizens of the new Palestinian independent state, with which they share etnicity, family ties, language, religion, culture – what not – and bid farewell to the hated Jews, their flag, their anthem, their laws. God forbid – they are not requested to leave their homes, which is the sacrifice they demand of Israelis – just to give up the Israeli hated citizenship and adopt the one of their own – by their own definition. Ask yourselves: Why? Some of you gave a partial answer: Economic reasons and life in a democracy rather then in what will surely become either a Sharia state (if Hamas takes over) or a military dictatorship
    if the PLO remains in charge. But there is much more and much worse: Through demography, and maybe US presure and weakness of Israeli governments, an untold number of Arab “refugies” will be allowed to settle in Israel, thus destroying it eventually from within, and making it into a third (Jordan being the first) Palestinian State. If not in their life time – surely in their children’s. Arabs, unlike Jews (peace Now!) are very patient people. Sharon, Liberman and Netanyahu understood it – therefore they insisted on recognition of Israel as the Nation State of the Jewish people, as Palestine will be that for the Palestinian people; Abu Mazen and Ahmed Tibi and his ilk in Israel understood it – and therfore steadfastly refused. Unfortunately, Ha’aretz and the leader of Yesh Atid (There is a Future)do not understand it – and may bring about a situation where there will be “Ein Atid” (no future).

    • Niel

      Do you fkn believe what you say here…

  • gonjtonic

    SEPARATION….this is the key word……we have to separate like divorcing people, they do not divorce and stay together in the house. The only solution is separation, no other alternative and I would suggest to Dr. Tibi to bring with him all the experience he has acquired during the years and apply it to his new country, to make it work. He should cast away the dream of destroying the Jewish state, that dream – if it will ever happen (and history shows us it can happen) that dream of his, will be his nightmare because that dream will mean the total destruction of the middle east.

  • m_

    I feel the proposed land swap is very much to the advantage of peace. Any Israel Arabs wishing to live in Israel should be allowed to relocate on their own without Israeli government help in Israel or anywhere they chose to live in the world. Perhaps Arab states could help finance any costs of moving by sending aid through an appropriate Israeli government department. This wold be particularly helpful to Arab Christian citizens and non-violent traditional Muslims living in the triangle who are persecuted by extremist Arab Muslim Israelis or live in fear of them even if some of them are forced to pretend to support the hateful and violent anti-Israel atmosphere in the triangle. Arabs loyal to Israel simply need to begin selling their homes to other Israeli Arabs and relocate to other areas of Israel. They should welcome this great opportunity to live among the diverse Israeli population in a free country.

  • Luigi Rosolin

    I think that most Palestinian Arab will be happy to live in under the democratic Israel state. Not only the one that are now but probably the majority of all Palestinian’s. They had not way to express or hold any idea for fear of retribution by the terrorist regime that is supported by Islamic power. If they had free will I thing they will choice democracy and peace in face of the hate propaganda instigate from years of brain wash.Every human been like to had a better life and freedom.

  • Mireille Mechoullam

    So these Arabs MK’s in the Knesset who always sided with the enemy (Mahmoud Abbas PA) prefer being Israelis? Isn’t that what they wanted in the 1st place?

  • Jeffrey Reiss

    Finally proof of the power of democratic rule and quality education, free enterprise and social justice. America and the rest of the world should back off and Israel should defend the majority wishes of its Arab citizens. As for settlements they all should remain in place and be territories of Israel. The fruits of victory in war and industriousness.

  • Miriam

    Israeli arabs want stay in Israel just for economic reason not because they love the State of Israel. They want get their kizvot while hating “those” Jews all th way.

  • J.E Hay

    These Types Of Land Swapping Schemes Have Been Proven As An Way To Destroy An Sovereign Nation In This Case The Sovereign State Of Israel And Must Be Completely Defeated. It Has Nothing To Do With The proposition Of Peace But Instead An Backdoor Effort To As Earlier Stated Towards The Utter Destruction The Sovereign State Of Israel An Effort That Is Being Spearheaded By Obama And His Faithful Mongrel John Kerry.

  • Basically, this is just a stupid idea. Arab Israelis are Israelis. Period. They are as entitled to their citizenship and residency as any other Israeli, regardless of ethnicity. If even one person were to object to such a swap, that would be the end of the deal. As it stands, apparently, more than 4/5 of one affected community opposes any such deal.

    • Good bye

      Are you serious, this is a blessing. in fact the idea of dumping 300,000 haters is the simply the smart thing to do. Remember the saying, be careful what you wish for because you may get … well you can tell dr tibi he got what he wanted. Tell him, welcome to your new government .. hamas led with support from the PLO. Bet that thought knocks the smile off his face. Anyway, its time to give back to the beloved Israeli Palestinians who have never supported the state or the government by shipping them out and letting them live under sharia as compared to a constitution. Delicious.

      • Mel

        The Mideast conflict for Dumbocrat Dummies, 101:

        Israel says its G-d Hashem dwells in Jerusalem.
        Christianity says its G-d Jesus moved to Rome.
        Islam says its G-d Allah moved to Mecca.

        Israel calls Israel ‘Yisrael’ to keep its home.
        Rome renamed Israel ‘Palestina’ to steal it. Islam calls Israel ‘Palestine’ to steal it.

        Jewish-ruled ‘Palestinians’ are party members. Under Islamic rule, they would be dismembered.

        Let me ‘boil-it-down’ for Obama, Kerry and pals.
        In an Islamic Palestine, you might be boiled-up.

        • M

          @Mel:

          ‘Christianity’ does NOT say “its God Jesus moved to Rome”!!!
          Nowhere is such a statement made in the New or Old Testaments!

          That the Roman Catholic Church has its power center in Rome is quite another reality, but has NOTHING with what´s a biblical doctrine to do.

      • M

        As far as I know, Israel do NOT have a constitution.

        Other than that, your comment is valid and I stand by it.

        And please do tell me if I´m wrong about Israel´s lack of a constitution.

    • Arie

      I agree Shai. But isn’t it ironing that tibi and his Jew hate clique spend all their waking hours demonizing the Jewish State….until the reality check that they may finally get their wish!!!

      • So true, Arie. Far too often, it ends up a tragic irony.

  • ITS FUNNY HOW ONE CNTRY THAT BELEIVES IN FREEDOM TELLS ANOTHER CNTRY WHAT TO DO.ARE THE KILLED & DISPLACED JEWS FROM THE ARAB LANDS GETTING THERE PROPERTY & BELONGINGS BACK??IS THE U.S.GIVING TEXAS & CALIFORNIA BACK TO THE MEXICANS,OR N.Y.BACK TO THE INDIANS $24.00 WASNT A FAIR DEAL,THEYRE JUST TRYING TO WEAKEN ISRAEL.LIKE CARTER HAD THEM GIVE UP THE SINAI FOR A PIECE OF PAPER WHEN ISRAEL COULD OF TAKEN OVER THE WHOLE EGYPT.THEIR WHOLE ARMY WAS SURROUNDED IN THE SINA,THE U.S. SAID LET THEM GO

    • Ben Gruder

      Please don’t use all caps if you can avoid it. It’s very taxing to try to read what you wrote.

    • E benAbuya

      We should all think and act like Shai; even though we all feel like gunther.
      Moshe & HaroldT yasher ko’ach

    • M

      “could of…taken over the whole Egypt…”???

      “could have…” must be what you meant to say…or?

  • Moshe

    So the Israeli-Arabs prefer Israeli apartheid to freedom under fellow Arab rule?

  • john

    the US has no business in Israeli affairs especially with the O bamma in office

  • Bernard Ross

    those against the Jews should be sent to the pals

  • HaroldT

    Why don’t the Israeli politicians capitalise on this rejection, as proof of Arab rejection of their own state.

  • Of course, even though they complain and protest, when the “chips are down”, the Israeli Arabs know that they have it too good in Israel.

    • Rickk

      The old saying, don’t bite the hand that feeds you. These Arabs are doing exactly that. Now they may have to take their words back, oh what a great opportunity to show the rest of the Wold what Arabs really think of living in Israel.

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