Though Israeli Arabs have taken serious umbrage at the push by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to “trade” a number of their towns to Palestine, along with their citizenship, the problem may be less the idea than the rhetoric behind it.
“Who is he to decide for us?” was a common quote among Israeli Arabs about the Lieberman plan, saying its something for them to decide and not the bellicose FM, who has made it clear his goal is just to get rid of the Arabs.
Lieberman’s push may be a non-starter, but a new Haaretz/Dialog poll shows the idea at its core isn’t so farfetched, with 42 percent of Israeli Arabs open to territory swaps and 31 percent hoping their own towns would be “transferred” to an independent Palestine.
That’s up quite a bit from 2005’s poll, when only 21 percent were open to the idea, and with the younger age brackets more supportive of becoming part of Palestine some day, the momentum within the Arab community may be for eventually separating from Israel.
It’s a difficult decision for many, since a newly created Palestine would be a much poorer nation with a lot of problems to deal with. At the same time, staying in Israel means remaining second-class citizens ruled by the likes of Lieberman, hardly an ideal situation either.