An Israeli-Arab member of parliament (MK) has condemned the proposal by Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to “exchange” residents of Arab and Jewish cities, Anadolu reported on Monday.
“We remained in our land despite the Nakba and [Israel’s] displacement policies,” said Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab list in the Knesset. “We resisted for the sake of our adherence to our land and for the sake of dragging our right of full citizenship.” He added that Lieberman’s plan to get rid of the Arabs in what is known as the Triangle — a cluster of Arab towns — is a plan to revoke residents’ citizenship rights.
Early on Monday, Lieberman proposed exchanging areas inside Israel which have a high Arab population for Jewish colony-settlements in the occupied West Bank. “It is unacceptable to establish a Palestinian state with a single Jew in it,” he claimed, “but 22 per cent of the Israeli population are Palestinians.”
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The extremist, Moldova-born politician named a number of prominent Palestinians among those for whom there is “no need to keep as citizens of Israel: Shaikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic movement in Israel and Ayman Odeh, Basel Ghattas and Hanin Zoabi, who are all Arab MKs.
In response, Odeh described Lieberman’s ideology as “hostile” to all Arabs. “He is waiting for the opportunity to carry out a new plan targeting Arabs in Jaleel, coastal cities and the Negev. He wants more lands with fewer Arabs.” The minister, he said, is worried about the increasing political power of the Arab citizens, so he is seeking to get rid of them.
Official data shows that there are 1.4 million Arabs living in Israel, 20 per cent of the total population. Of the 120 members of the Knesset, 13 are Palestinian-Arabs.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)