Israel's FM: No accord with PA without land, population swaps

Photo: Israel's FM: No accord with PA without land, population swaps / Arab-Israel Relations

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Sunday that the only agreement with the Palestinians he will support will be one where there is an exchange of populations, and not only territory, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Speaking at an annual meeting of Israel's ambassadors abroad at the Foreign Ministry, Liberman said he was referring specifically to re-routing the border so that Wadi Ara and the Little Triangle will be a part of a future Palestinian state.

"We are not talking about a transfer, as was done to the Jewish settlements in Gush Katif," he said. "Nobody will be expelled from their homes or dispossessed of his possessions." Instead, he said, what he has in mind is "simply moving the border."

He said that there was no reason the Israeli Arabs living there "should not join their brethren under full Palestinian sovereignty and become citizens of the future Palestinian state that they want so badly."

Liberman, who met Friday with US Secretary of State John Kerry, praised him for his tireless efforts, and said he supported a comprehensive and defensible agreement."Even with all the doubts I have over the true intention of the other side, dialogue between us is important," he said.

He said that even when the sides do not agree or trust each other, there is a "supreme importance" in being able to talk and reasonably manage daily life together.

He expressed appreciation to Kerry for being extremely clear about the need to for Israel to be recognized as a Jewish state and to have its security needs met. No one in the international arena has been as clear as Kerry about these issues, he said.

Liberman said it was not only important to think about an agreement, but also about the day after an agreement. He said that Israel's enemies around the world were already focusing setting their sites on other issues with which to bash Israel after the settlement issue is taken off the table. These issues, he said, were the Bedouins and Israeli settlement in the Galilee.

"They don't intend to let us rest for a minute, and not to give us any credit on any agreement with the Palestinians, but rather immediately to go on the attack," he said.

Liberman, who stressed the importance of Israel-US ties, said that what was important was not only the assistance Israel could get from Washington, but also how Jerusalem can assist the US.

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