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Palestinian state is solution for Israeli Arabs says Tzipi Livni
BayBak, Azerbaijan | 2014 days ago | Sunday, 18th November , 2007 , 19:58 [pm] | International
|.|| Balad members said they were happy to see the Higher Monitoring Committee discuss these issues. “We have always opposed Israel’s definition as a Jewish state,” Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka told Haaretz. “We must hold a principled debate on the matter, and if Hadash are of the same opinion, it only proves the hegemony of our political discourse. Bless them.”
The leaders of the Islamic Movement were at a conference in Istanbul at press time and were unavailable for comment. Ra’am-Ta’al MK Taleb El-Sana told
Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Sunday that the future Palestinian state would provide a solution to Palestinians worldwide – including Israeli Arabs – in their struggle for national expression.
Livni was responding to an announcement made Saturday by the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee regarding its decision to draft a document expressing its refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“It must be clear to everyone that the State of Israel is a national homeland for the Jewish people,” Livni said, adding that the national demands of Israeli Arabs should end the moment a Palestinian state is established.
Livni also stressed that Israel is a democracy and elected members of Knesset must accept it as such. “The Arab MKs cannot have their cake and eat it too,” she said.
In response to Livni’s comments, Culture, Sports and Science Minister Ghaleb Majadele said, “The roots of the Israeli Arab citizens of Israel were planted before the state was established. They are residents of this country with rights; their residency and citizenship are not open for negotiation.”
“Anyone who raises the idea of transferring the Arab population in Israel to the territories of the state of Palestine is anti-democractic,” the Israeli Arab minister added.
Livni’s comments also infuriated Israeli Arab members of Knesset, who accused her of adopting an extremist stance toward the Arab minority.
Hadash party Chairman Mohammad Barakeh, who initiated Saturday’s debate at the Higher Monitoring Committee, said: “The government’s insolence has hit a new high. Livni went back to her origins in the unenlightened circles of the extreme right.”
He added that “the Palestinian Arabs in Israel live in their homeland. They did not immigrate. It is the state that immigrated.”
MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al) said that Livni has shown her “extreme face,” adding that she is preparing the ground for the expulsion of Arab citizens from Israek. “The Arabs were here before Livni and will be here after her,” he said.
During their meeting Saturday in Nazareth, committee members announced they would send their document when it is completed to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, Arab countries and international organizations.
The committee said its decision was influenced by Israel’s insistence that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Israeli Arab official Raja Agabaria has been entrusted with formulating the document.
Committee members’ opinions varied considerably during the discussion. The Hadash party that raised the issue are focusing on expressing its disapproval of the state’s definition as Jewish in the context of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Other parties, such as Balad, believe the committee must express a principled disapproval of such a definition.
Such may be a breach of Israeli law, which stipulates that no party can participate in the elections if it rejects the democratic and Jewish nature of the State of Israel.
Hadash Chairman Barakeh told Haaretz that his party’s stance on the matter was one of principle. “Palestinian and international recognition of Israel as a Jewish state will determine the status of Arabs in Israel as second-class citizens,” he said.
He added that such recognition might legitimize population swap and transfer of Arab citizens and also invalidate the Palestinian refugees’ right of return. “The State of Israel should be nothing more than self-determination for Jewish Israelis,” he concluded.
Balad members said they were happy to see the Higher Monitoring Committee discuss these issues. “We have always opposed Israel’s definition as a Jewish state,” Balad Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka told Haaretz. “We must hold a principled debate on the matter, and if Hadash are of the same opinion, it only proves the hegemony of our political discourse. Bless them.”
The leaders of the Islamic Movement were at a conference in Istanbul at press time and were unavailable for comment. Ra’am-Ta’al MK Taleb El-Sana told Haaretz that “this is undoubtedly a serious issue. We agree that the country’s national character should not be a condition for negotiations. It should be determined by the public, and setting conditions on a Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state is a pretext for not pursuing negotiations.”haaretz, Voice of a Nation