Lieberman – Arabs concerned
Photo: Boaz Oppenheim
Al-Rahman: Lieberman danger to democracy
Photo: Tzvika Tishler
Residents of the Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahem say they are concerned and upset over the prospect of Avigdor Lieberman's Israel Our Home party joining a Kadima-led coalition.
"I want to turn to (Acting Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and tell him that sitting with Lieberman in the coalition constitutes a danger to democracy," town Mayor Hashem Abdul Rahman told Ynet.
Al-Rahman said the only solutions he would find acceptable are either Lieberman "declaring publicly that he's renouncing his fascist plan, or Olmert declaring he's not willing to accept Lieberman in the coalition."
Lieberman's plan calls for handing Arab-Israeli towns over to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
"I hear all residents here saying we're talking about a person with racist, fascist thoughts," the mayor added. "Today it's the Arabs and tomorrow it can be another sector, the Ethiopians for example."
Al-Rahman has also called for an emergency meeting of Arab leaders on the matter and says "we certainly won't keep quiet…we'll weigh our moves."
Dr. Afu Agbaria, a town resident and member of Arab Israeli party Hadash says coalition talks are putting the government in a situation where it is "encouraging radicals like Lieberman, and that's unacceptable."
"The mere fact the establishment is negotiating with such party is a stain on Israeli democracy," he said.
"In a country governed by the rule of law, such party would be outlawed, if he's renouncing the right of citizens of this country to be citizens," Agbaria added. "We completely reject this attitude and believe there are better alternatives than Lieberman. We'll fight for him and his party to be outlawed, like Kahane."
Another local Arab leader, Rajah Agbaria, says "neither Lieberman nor the Labor party or Olmert will be able to remove us from our homeland."
"For me, there's not much difference between Lieberman and Olmert, because both of them used to be in the same party (Likud,)" he says. "This will strengthen our tendency not to trust the Knesset and government of Israel. That's why I called for boycotting the elections."
According to Agbaria, the solution lies in establishing "one, bi-national country for Jews and Arabs. That will solve the Lieberman problem."
"We're not packing. Lieberman will be packing and returning to Russia," Agbaria added. "We know the end of all those who backed a transfer (of Arabs.)"
"We know the end of Zeevi, and it's not that I'm a fortune teller," he concluded, referring to former rightist Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists at a Jerusalem hotel.