Israeli Defense Minister Calls for Population Swaps in Future Peace Deal

March 14, 2017

2 min read

Jordan Valley Checkpoint

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Monday that any future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians should include some Israeli-Arab Knesset members becoming citizens of a future Palestinian state.

MK Basel Ghattas (Basel Ghattas’s Facebook page)

The defense minister posted a message on his Facebook page in which he listed three Arab Knesset members alongside the leader of the Islamic Movement in Israel’s Northern Branch.

“There is no reason that Sheikh Raed Salah, Ayman Odeh, Bassel Ghattas or Haneen Zoabi will continue to be citizens of Israel,” said Lieberman, mentioning figures who all have histories of anti-Israel statements and have been accused of incitement. Ghattas is suspected of smuggling cell phones and SIM cards to Palestinian security prisoners.”

Lieberman, a strong advocate of population swaps in the context of any future peace deal, reiterated his past calls for such measures. He suggested that Israeli Arabs be included in a Palestinian state if a two-state framework is agreed upon, saying, “The only way to a sustainable agreement is through land and population swaps as part of a larger regional peace deal.”

“It cannot be that a hegemonic Palestinian state will be established, without a single Jew—100 percent Palestinian, and Israel will be a bi-national state with 22 percent Palestinians,” Lieberman said.

Elaborating on new peace efforts afoot in the region, the defense minister cautioned against repeating past mistakes.

“On the threshold of a new attempt to start up diplomatic negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, we must learn the lessons of the past, and the first lesson is: every attempt to solve the Palestinian issue on a land-for-peace basis is destined to fail,” he said.

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