Half of Israeli Arabs to become citizens of Palestinian state: Israeli FM   2010-12-24 05:46:05 FeedbackPrintRSS

JERUSALEM, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman claims that at least half of Israel's Arab residents would likely end up as citizens of the future Palestinian state, following territorial and population swaps as part of a possible peace agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In an interview with Newsweek, Lieberman said that although many Israeli Arabs may one day find themselves living under the Palestinian National Authority, they will be able to "continue living in their property, their houses, their land, or they can move to Israel."

The interview was published in the magazine's year end edition, which highlights its pick of the world's influential figures.

Lieberman noted that the notion of territorial and population exchange, a central doctrine in the platform of his ultra- nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu Party, is supported by an absolute majority of the Likud Party and "maybe the majority of the Labor Party."

He claimed that it is also backed by 70 percent of Israel's Jewish population.

Describing a peace deal with the Palestinians as a "very complicated agenda," Lieberman, crowned by Newsweek as "Israel's most popular politician right now," said that the main obstacle to reaching a peace deal isn't religious tensions between Muslims and Jews or between Israelis and Palestinians but rather the rift between Arab factions.

It is not the first time that the rightist-wing minister makes statements calling to move Israeli Arab citizens out of the country. Those remarks have drawn harsh condemnation from the Arab League, which criticized the comments as undermining the Palestinian-Israeli peace process.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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