Lieberman: Israeli-Arab Rioters Don't Belong in Israel

Foreign minister says justice system must send clear message 'to those who enjoy Israeli citizenship and act as terrorists.'

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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File photo: Avigdor Lieberman.
File photo: Avigdor Lieberman.Credit: Flash 90
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Arab-Israelis who rioted in the north of the country on Friday do not belong in Israel, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman wrote on his Facebook page on Saturday.

"It's good the police arrested the Arabs who rioted yesterday [in Israel's north]. We now expect the justice system to also do its part decisively and, through harsh punishements, deliver a clear message to those who enjoy Israeli citizenship and act as terrorists," Lieberman the post,

The rioters, the foreign minister added, "do not belong in the state of Israel – and until that is resolved, their place is in jail."

Responding to Lieberman's post, Meretz party head Zahava Galon accused the foreign minister of "inflaming hatred between Jewish and Arab citizens of Israel and, in so doing strengthening the winds of racism and nationalism."

The right of Israel's Arab citizens to protest in their homeland is not dependent on Lieberman's moods, Galon said.

"It is no secret that Lieberman has been trying, for some time now, to change the status quo of Israel's Arab citizens, to take away their citizenship, and to 'transfer' them out of here."

Lierman said last January that he would not support any peace agreement that does not include the exchange of Israeli Arab land and population.

Speaking about the U.S.-brokered peace negotiations, since frozen, Lieberman said the demand for a land and population swap was a "basic condition" which he had already clarified to the international community.

"When I talk about land and population exchange, I mean the Little Triangle and Wadi Ara," Lieberman said, referring to the predominantly Arab regions in central and northern Israel. "This is not a transfer. Nobody will be expelled or banished, but the border will move to the other side of Route 6."

"I will not support any peace deal that will allow the return of even one Palestinian refugee to Israel," he said. "Because if we leave the right of return on the table, all pressure will be on this subject."

"When there is a Palestinian state, it will absorb hundreds of thousands of refugees from Syria and Lebanon, because these states will simply expel all of these refugees," he added.

MK Dov Henin (Hadash) condemned Lieberman's statement. "At this time, leaders should denounce incitement, racism and violence, not light a match near the powder keg and spark an even bigger flame."

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