Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), who proposes that land Israel swaps with a future Palestinian state include the cities where some 300,000 Arabs live, reponded Wednesday to the clamor against his plan. He focused on media interviews with residents from the heavily Arab Wadi Ara area, which he would like to see become a part of the Palestinian state.
The Arabs interviewed overwhelmingly rejected the idea of applying Palestinian sovereignty to their region.
"The Arabs of Wadi Ara have suddenly become ardent Zionists,” Liberman wrote sarcastically. “In interviews with residents of Umm el-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.
"Suddenly they are an integral part of the state of Israel,” he said. “Suddenly Herzl is their national hero, Hatikva is a hit and Ahmed Tibi and his friends have a yearning Jewish soul... Abu Mazen, too, who cares so deeply about the release of Israeli Arabs jailed for terrorism against Israel – suddenly screams in anguish from the thought that they will become his citizens... and the bleeding hearts on the left, as well as some other hitchhikers, who say that the Arabs are not an object that can be moved from one country's sovereignty to another (after all, we do not intend to remove them physically) – these were not shocked when, in the Geneva Plan, Yossi Beilin wanted to transfer the Arabs of east Jerusalem to Palestinian sovereignty and confiscte their IDs, and did not bat an eyelash when the residents of Sinai or Gush Katif were physically transferred...”
"There are numerous historical precedents for swapping of territories ad populations, and moving borders to create homogenous countries, and end local disputes,” Liberman said. “Therefore, there is no reason to think that this is impossible. We know that they said this about the entire Zionist endeavor. In other words, he summedup, using a famous line by the father of modern Zionism, Theodore Herzl: 'if you will it, it is no legend!'”