'PA Should Take Hostile Arabs'

Lieberman proposes that a future PA state take in Arab citizens of Israel who oppose the Jewish state.

Maayana Miskin , | updated: 18:18

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman
Israel news photo: Flash 90 / archive

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman proposed Sunday that a Palestinian Authority state in Judea and Samaria take in Israeli Arabs who oppose the Jewish state. Lieberman has previously suggested that a settlement with the PA be based on an exchange of land and populations.

The issue must be raised in talks, he said. “There's a phenomenon of people like MK Hanin Zoabi who completely identify with the other side. We can't run away from it. It's as if someone were trying to sell you an apartment, and insisting that his mother-in-law would continue living there.”

Lieberman emphasized that he was talking only about those who are not loyal to Israel. “Any Israeli citizen who is proud of his citizenship” is welcome to remain, he said. “But people like Hanin Zoabi should, in my opinion, become Palestinian citizens. They can go run for office in Gaza under Hamas.”

The foreign minister has often brought up the idea of loyalty to the state, and has criticized the current perception of a “two-state solution,” under which the PA would expel Jews from its territory, while Israel would continue to have a sizeable Arab minority that includes Arabs who dislike the country they live in.

He led the Yisrael Beiteinu party to its current slot as the third-largest party, with 15 seats, under the slogan “No Loyalty – No Citizenship.” The party proposed that all citizens, Jews and Arabs alike, be required to pledge their loyalty to Israel.

Lieberman's statements Sunday, made before the weekly Cabinet meeting, were met by criticism from the left, and from MK Zoabi, who accused him of supporting “apartheid and ethnic cleansing.” His remarks were largely portrayed in the international media as having referred to all of Israel's 1.3 million Arab, Bedouin and Druze citizens, and not only those who identify with the PA.

On Monday, Lieberman clarified that the population swap idea he has promoted is his own policy, and not that of the government.