Lieberman says his plan enjoys international support
Photo: Boaz Oppenheim
(VIDEO) A diplomatic plan that would see Israel retain West Bank settlements while handing over Arab-Israeli towns to the Palestinian Authority enjoys international support, Israel Our Home Chairman Avigdor Lieberman told Ynetnews in a special interview Thursday.
"I think we have support for this idea in the international community," Lieberman said, making note of a recent opinion piece by former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "Now it depends only on us, what we will decide."
Video: Micha Duman
In his Washington Post commentary published last month, Kissinger bemoaned the deadlocked peace process and the Palestinian inability to modify long-held positions.
"The most logical outcome would be to trade Israeli settlement blocs around Jerusalem…for some equivalent territories in present-day Israel with significant Arab populations," Kissinger wrote, adding such solution "would contribute greatly to stability and to demographic balance."
'Response to terror must be total'
Lieberman's plan, which would see Israel's borders redrawn in a way that leaves such towns as Umm al-Fahem outside the country, has been slammed by critics as a thinly veiled attempt to remove Israel's Arab citizens. Yet the right-wing leader insisted his initiative is viable and pointed to similar solutions elsewhere.
"You can take for example Cyprus, or the solution that happened in Yugoslavia," he said, making note of other cases in history where borders were redrawn.
In an earlier forum with Ynet readers, Lieberman said his solution would work even without Arab consent to the initiative, pointing to the recent Gaza and northern West Bank pullout.
"We evacuated Gush Katif residents and none of them wanted or agreed to this evacuation," he said.
Addressing a question about the kind of response he would offer to Palestinian terrorism, Lieberman said "the response to each terror attack must be total, and the price tag we'll exact for every attack will be so high it won't be worthwhile for them to take a risk against us."
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'I don't believe in polls'
Turning his attention to his party's success in the polls and a possible role in Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's future coalition, should Kadima win the elections, Lieberman told Ynetnews it was too early to address the topic.
"I don't believe in the polls," he said. "I try to concentrate on the day of elections."
Lieberman also dismissed Olmert's comments about Kadima's intention to only join forces with parties that would accept the acting PM's diplomatic plan, namely further West Bank withdrawals.
"I don't believe in statements (made) three days before the elections, everybody wants to be popular and improve his position in the ratings and the polls," Lieberman said, referring to Olmert's remarks. "It's not serious…negotiations about the future government, the future coalition, will start on Wednesday the 29th of March."