Lieberman: Kadima Can Join Gov't Only if They Support Populated Land Swap

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says coalition will not compromise on plan to exchange populated territories with Palestinians, rather than giving up land for peace.


Avigdor Lieberman, April 29, 2010

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters on Tuesday that his party, Yisrael Beiteinu, would be willing to allow opposition party Kadima into the coalition as long as Kadima members agreed to support a land and population swap with the Palestinians as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"This coalition will not change," Lieberman said. "We are willing to consider a shift in the coalition only if the entire coalition, including Kadima, supports the concept of a populated land swap rather than the concept of land for peace."

Kadima Chairwoman Tzipi Livni, who served as the foreign minister in the previous administration, is a known champion of the land for peace solution.

Lieberman's plan, also known as the populated-area exchange plan, suggests an exchange of populated territories - territories populated by both Arabs and Jews - between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Lieberman added that the month of September will pose an important test for the state of Israel as a 10-month construction freeze on West Bank settlements expires. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the temporary freeze in November in efforts to restart the stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.

Palestinian leaders have declared that they would not resume negotiations as long as Israel continues to build on land they desire for a future state.