Israel’s plain-speaking Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, suggested to reporters on Monday that a Palestinian Authority state should include areas of land where some Arabs hold Israeli citizenship.
He presumably was referring to areas of Jerusalem, where Arabs enjoys rights and benefits from Israel. Large areas of eastern and northern Jerusalem effectively have been partially surrendered by Israel, which rarely sends police into certain hostile neighborhoods.
Lieberman is an oddity in modern diplomacy because he actually says what he thinks. "It's time to say these things clearly,” he told reporters several hours before Israeli and Palestinian Authority negotiators were to meet in Jordan for another round of talks.
He said that a “land swap” would involved Israel ceding some Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria in return for Israeli sovereignty over large centers of Jewish populations, such as Maaleh Adumim, Gush Etzion, Ariel and possibly other blocs of Jewish towns in Samaria,
The problem with the suggestion of a trading Israeli citizenship of Arabs with that of the PA is that polls have shown few Jerusalem Arabs would be willing to give up their benefits from Israel, a factor that few if any mainstream media accounts report.
Concerning the talks in Jordan, Lieberman said the Palestinian Authority agreed to attend only because it could not refuse Jordanian King Abdullah II.
The Palestinian Authority-Israeli talks that were renewed last week in Jordan under the umbrella of the Quartet’s timetable that set January 26 as the final date for the two sides to resume direct talks for establishing the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country.
Little or no results are expected, but U.S. State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland stated, "From our perspective, the fact that they are now meeting face- to-face is a very good thing.”