Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggests that as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Israel will give the Palestinian state high-quality territories in Wadi Ara and the Triangle in exchange for the settlement blocs. The Right, as usual, responds with refusal. But the Left, unfortunately, is also responding negatively, in an almost Pavlovian conditioning.
It seems that they are responding first of all to the specific person and not in regards to the case in question. Indeed, Lieberman's style is generally aggressive and occasionally violent, but that does not mean that we shouldn't listen to him sometimes. Those crying out in the Left should be reminded that these territories were not conquered by the State of Israel in the War of Independence, but were handed over to Israel by King Abdullah. The State of Israel received the territories as part of an agreement between the countries and will now also give them back only as part of an agreement between the countries.
I fail to understand why the Left, which is willing relatively easily to evict tens of thousands of Jews from their homes, without even trying to put on a pretense of sorrow, is so opposed to leaving people on their land, in their homes, at the cost of changing their citizenship.
This is not Lieberman's original idea. He was preceded by Prof. Arnon Sofer and Prof. Gideon Biger, who are both well-known and distinguished geographers. Lieberman recognizes the fact that there is a complex problem here, which is not just demographic but also sociological. In other words, there are questions on the agenda regarding the Jewish-Israeli state's identity on the day the Palestinian state is founded. Reading between the lines, one can understand that Lieberman would rather maintain the hegemony of the Jewish majority west of the Jordan River, which means leaving most of the territories in Judea and Samaria.
Although there is an apparent consensus in the public that there is no dispute over Jerusalem, it seems that even if Israel wishes to keep the neighborhoods beyond the 1967 Green Line, it will have to pay with square meters from the territory of pre-1967 Israel.
Without discussing the question of what Israel would like to add to its land, we should first of all look into what Israel can give in exchange for the territories its seeks to receive. In return for the large settlement blocs, the Palestinians are supposed to receive lands of high quality. So it is only natural that the State of Israel will hand over territories populated by Arabs. I believe that it is the Left which is flaunting the demographic danger.
It is unclear why after the peace agreement and division of the land there will be one state, an Arab one, which will become "Judenrein" (one of the only places in the world where Jews cannot live) alongside a Jewish state, in which 20% of the residents are Arabs who do not identify with the state, its ideas and its symbols.
Contrary to what Zahava Gal-On says, there is not even a hint of a transfer here. The Arabs will not be banished, God forbid. We will leave. It's true that not all of them blocked Wadi Ara and not all of them screamed "Itbah al-Yahud" ("slaughter the Jews") in the 2000 intifada. Many Arabs have excellent personal relations with Jews, but the collective discourse is increasingly becoming anti-Israel.
Since that is the case, let's free them of us. The Arabs are protesting. They are afraid that we will abandon them to the mercy of their brothers, and they probably know why.
My colleagues in the Left were alarmed at the idea that their citizenship will be revoked, which will not happen to the Judea and Samaria settlers who will be uprooted from their homes and lands. They will have to leave behind a land where they put down roots, homes, dreams, memories and graves, while the Arabs of Wadi Ara and the Triangle will lose their blue identity card. It's unpleasant, but it's a historical necessity.
The idea is not to treat them like Jews were treated in the Rafah Plain or in the disengagement, but to let them stay in their homes and work their lands. Alternatively, those who care so much about Israeli citizenship and democracy should be allowed to converge into the Jewish state, and even get compensation.
The crazy idea to force them to take a loyalty oath should of course be deducted from the plan. But they prefer to stay here and not to give up on the Israeli democracy and the state they hate. Lieberman tore the mask off their face and also showed the Left's true colors.
Dr. Gili Haskin is a tour guide and Land of Israel researcher