New York – Gabriel Doron, Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University, has stated that Avigdor Lieberman and his Israel Beitenu party, the newest member of the Olmert government coalition, has become the “center of a new consensus.” Professor Doron said that, “After the summer war in Lebanon, many Israelis have moved to the Right … They think security is bad and trust Palestinians and Arabs less. They don’t believe in the possibility of peace through negotiations, so Lieberman has become the center of a new consensus” ( Telegraph [a major newspaper in London], November 5).
Israel National News reports that “Lieberman wishes to trade Israeli-Arab populated areas for Jewish areas of Judea and Samaria. Specifically, Lieberman would hand over the Um El-Fahm area of the southern Galilee, known as the Triangle, to foreign sovereignty. By thus redrawing Israel’s borders, he wishes to retain Israel’s overwhelming Jewish majority.” In an interview, Lieberman explained, “The exchange of territories and populations will help us form a Jewish, homogeneous state. We promised to establish a Palestinian state free of Jews, but in the meanwhile, we ourselves are turning into a bi-national state with a minority of more than 20% Arabs.” An advisor to Lieberman later added, “Israeli Arabs don’t have to go … But if they stay they have to take an oath of allegiance to Israel as a Jewish Zionist state.”
MK Uri Ariel (National Union) supported Lieberman’s position, saying, “His words about the threat presented by Israeli-Arabs to the physical existence of the State of Israel are correct. Now that he has entered the government, it remains only for us to see which of his plans he will actualize to deal with this threat” ( Israel National News, November 5)
Israel Beitenu joined the Olmert government last week, enlarging the ruling Olmert government to 78 out of 120 seats. Lieberman has entered the Cabinet as vice premier with special responsibility for Israel’s strategic threats, primarily Iran and its frequently repeated call for Israel’s elimination and pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Excerpts from the Telegraph interview with Avigdor Lieberman:
- On the threat posed to Israel by Israeli Arabs: “We established Israel as a Jewish country …I want to provide an Israel that is a Jewish, Zionist country. It’s about what kind of country we want to see in the future. Either it will be an [ethnically mixed] country like any other, or it will continue as a Jewish country.”
- On Iran: “Every week, the president of Iran declares his intention to destroy us … Iran is the base of an axis of evil which is a problem for all the world.”
- On future peace prospects: “I think separation between two nations is the best solution. Cyprus is the best model. Before 1974, the Greeks and Turks lived together and there were frictions and bloodshed and terror. After 1974, they constituted all Turks on one part of the island, all Greeks on the other part of the island and there is stability and security.”