Islamic Movement: Israeli Arabs Will Reject Peace Achieved by Current PA Leaders

Deputy leader of Islamic Movement's northern branch rejects Lieberman offer for Israel-Palestinian land swap, says only exchange he would agree to would see Lieberman return 'to his country.'

Israeli Arabs will reject any future peace achieved under the current Palestinian Authority leadership, the deputy leader of the Islamic Movements' northern branch said at a rally in Umm al-Fahm on Saturday.


The comment by the Islamic Movement official came against the backdrop of recently relaunched direct peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, with a possible breakdown in negotiations feared over the September 26 expiration date of Israel's 10-month-long settlement freeze.

Speaking at a rally titled "Al-Aqsa in danger" Sheikh Kamel Khatib said that Israeli Arabs would not recognize a potential peace deal signed by the current PA leadership, saying no one authorized them "to speak in our name."

Calling out to the Palestinian negotiators, Khatib said Arab Israelis "will stomp on any paper or signature which you agree to on our behalf – we will not recognize it."

Khatib also rejected Russian-born Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's proposition, according to which a future peace deal would involve the exchange of land between Israel and the Palestinians, saying that the only swap he would agree to would be one which would see Lieberman "return to his country while refugees in Syria and Lebanon return to their homeland."

The Islamic Movement strongman also claimed Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque was in danger, adding that those who covet Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa "will not stop there," saying the holy cities of Mecca and Medina were also under the threat of a foreign takeover.

On Thursday, Israeli Arab demonstrators commemorated the October 2000 riots, during which 13 Arab youth were killed by Israeli police.

In 2000, Israeli Arabs were rioting in solidarity with the Palestinian Intifada which had just begun in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. During the riots, which lasted some ten days, 12 Israeli Arabs and one Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip were shot and killed by police and security forces during violent demonstrations at the entrance to Umm al-Fahm.

Demonstrators gathered on Thursday in small groups in Nazareth and Haifa and at 12 major intersections across Israel. They waved Palestinian flags and held pictures of those killed in the riots.

The official event which will begin the commemorations is scheduled to take place on October 1, in the Israeli Arab town of Kfar Kanna. A general strike in the Arab sector is scheduled to begin then as well.