MK Issawi Frej (Meretz) asked Justice Minister Tzipi Livni Tuesday to demand the transfer of the community of Nokdim, in the Judean Etzion Bloc, to the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Livni heads the Israeli delegation to peace talks with the PA, whereas Nokdim is the community in which Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman lives.
Frej was making a somewhat clever rejoinder to Liberman's recent statements of support for the idea of turning over to the PA parts of Israel with large concentration of Arabs, in exchange for the Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria, as part of a comprehensive peace deal. The Arabs who live in the areas that join the PA would become citizens of the PA, according to this plan.
The exchange would considerably reduce the proportion of Arab citizens in Israel, from 20% to about 12%.
Frej fired back at Liberman by saying that the residents of Nokdim subvert Israel's democratic values, and that "by the very fact that they settled on Palestinian land, they expressed their trust in the Palestinian government.” Frej also demanded that the residents of Nokdim forfeit their Israeli citizenship, since “they will be living under a Palestinian government and of course, they will receive equal rights as Palestinian citizens.”
"The transfer of the residents of Nokdim to the Palestinian state will be a good and proper solution for everyone,” he went on, tongue-in-cheek. “For the residents of Nokdim, who will get to live in the country on whose land they chose to build their homes, and for the state of Palestine, which will receive quality manpower with rich diplomatic experience.”
In a less humorous tone, Frej also called Nokdim's residents “anti-democratic” and said that transferring them out of Israel's sovereignty would enable Israel to rid itself of people who incite aginst its citizens, “and are attempting to build themselves up through incitement with a racist flavor.”
Israel has reportedly been speaking to the United States about a plan similar to Liberman's, that would involve redrawing the Israel-PA border west of the area known as the Triangle in east-central Israel, including the cities of Tayibe and Tira, in which about 300,000 Arabs live.