“Why should Arabs in Umm Al-Fahm, who identify as Palestinians, continue to be citizens of Israel?”, asks Defense Minister Liberman.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) spoke out Monday morning regarding the potential separation of large portions of Judea and Samaria from Israel, arguing that if Israel is to separate itself from the Arab populations over the Green Line, it must also disengage from Arab communities within the Green Line that identify as Palestinians.
In an interview with Israel Radio, the Defense Minister cited the Arab city of Umm Al-Fahm as an example of Israeli-Arab communities that he believes should be included in a future Palestinian state.
“There is no reason whatsoever that the residents of Umm Al-Fahm, who identify as Palestinians, should continue to be citizens of Israel,” said Liberman.
Liberman emphasized that he was not endorsing the traditional formula of land-for-peace promoted by advocates of a two-state solution. Rather, the Defense Minister says he favors an exchange of territory and population – bringing Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria under Israel sovereignty while transferring large Arab population centers inside pre-1967 Israel to the Palestinian Authority.
The Defense Minister also argued that an arrangement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would only be a small part of a larger regional agreement with moderate Arab states.
Regarding the government’s assurances to former residents of Amona that a new community would be built in Samaria to house them, Liberman suggested that Israel did not need the approval of the United States, but nevertheless it was important for the two allies to reach a comprehensive understanding regarding Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria.