Friday, December 24, 2010

Why Arabs hate land swaps
23 December '10
Posted before Shabbat

There is a guy named Dan Friedman who sends me (and numerous others) several e-mails a day. He is very, very right-wing, in his American politics and his views on Israel. I’m sure a lot of people dislike him, but he’s got a great sense of what’s important.

He often spots interesting things, like this Newsweek interview with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman — another smart guy that a lot of people dislike — in which Lieberman talks about land swaps:

Newsweek: You’re talking about drawing a line so that how many Israeli Arabs will no longer be part of Israel?

Avigdor Lieberman: At least half.

N: Polls suggest that 90 percent or more of Israeli Arabs don’t want that.

L: You have 20 percent of the population that’s the Arab minority. You have 80 percent that’s Jewish. From 80 percent of the Jewish population, 70 percent support this idea.

N: So even if a resident of [the Israeli Arab town] Umm al-Fahm, for instance, doesn’t want to become part of Palestine, if a majority in the country says he has to, he has no choice?

L: He can continue to live in his property, his house, his land [and become a citizen of Palestine], or he can move to Israel.

The idea of a land swap is that borders should be determined by the populations living inside them. So rather than arbitrarily dividing the land according, for example, to the 1949 armistice lines, borders are drawn as much as possible to separate Jewish and Arab populations. Rather than evacuating hundreds of thousands of Jews from ‘Palestine’ — interestingly, no one ‘respectable’ ever talks about evacuating Arabs from Israel — they can stay where they are and become part of Israel, while heavily Arab areas presently inside Israel can become part of Palestine.

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