Hadash lawmakers slammed the country’s racist minister of defense, Avigdor Liberman, for calling for an “arrangement” by which many of the country’s Arab citizens would be given Palestinian instead of Israeli citizenship in a future peace deal. Joint List head MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), one of several lawmakers named by Liberman in a missive the latter sent out on Monday morning, March 13, said:
“The settler government knows that the Arab minority will play a crucial role in the battle to replace it; they are therefore obsessively preoccupied with threatening to expel us from the citizenry.” Accusing the far-right government of calling for a forceful transfer of a civilian population, Odeh concluded: “To the indignation of Liberman and the rest of the mad right-wing, the Joint List will continue to grow and become stronger in the next elections, until we have sufficient critical weight to oust the current government.”
In a posting published on Facebook, Liberman wrote: “The only way to reach a sustainable solution is via land swaps and population transfers, as part of a general regional agreement.” He added: “There is no reason that Sheikh Raed Salah, Ayman Odeh, Basel Ghattas or Haneen Zoabi should continue to be citizens of Israel,” referring respectively to the leader of the banned northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel and three MKs from the Joint List faction. Liberman’s controversial plan calls for towns in the “Triangle” region southeast of Haifa, including heavily populated Arab cities, to become part of a Palestinian state in any peace agreement in exchange for Jewish settlement areas of the West Bank coming under Israeli sovereignty.
Responding to the defense minister’s statement, Hadash MK Yousef Jabareen (Joint List), a former professor of law, said that Liberman’s plan amounts to a war crime. “Practically speaking, Liberman is calling for a transfer, which is a war crime. The fate of war criminals will be decided in the International Criminal Court at the Hague,” he said. MK Jabareen also took the defense minister to task for comparing the rights of Arab citizens of Israel to settlers in the West Bank. “Liberman exhibits a lot of ignorance in the comparison he makes between Arab citizens and settlers. Arab citizens of Israel were given citizenship not out of an act of kindness, but due to the fact that they live in their homeland…This is in stark contrast to West Bank settlers who are residing there illegally,” he said.