TEL AVIV – Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Tuesday re-floated a controversial idea to transfer jurisdiction of certain Arab-Israeli towns to a future Palestinian state. His comments came in response to the hundreds of Arab-Israelis who took part in the funeral of a terrorist who attempted to stab a policeman.
Several hundred people attended the funeral in the northern Arab-Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm of terrorist Ahmed Muhammad Mahameed, who was shot dead last week when he tried to stab an police officer in the Old City of Jerusalem. The high turnout was in violation of a police agreement to keep the funeral to a minimum number of attendees.
“Are you are still asking yourselves why Umm al-Fahm needs to be in Palestine and not Israel?” Liberman tweeted. “The scenes yesterday of many hundreds of people participating in the funeral of the terrorist from their city with Palestinian flags, and chants that ‘with spirit and blood we will redeem you martyr,’ will finally answer the question. The plan that I published many years ago for an exchange of territory and populations is more relevant than ever.”
When Mahameed’s body was returned the event was marked with fireworks. During the funeral, attendees carried Palestinian flags and, as Liberman said, chanted “in spirit and blood we will redeem you martyr.”
Liberman’s proposal calls for a total reshuffling of borders. Towns in the north and Arab-majority cities would become part of a Palestinian state in any final status solution to the conflict and, in return, Jewish settlements in the West Bank would became sovereign Israel.
The reasons behind the plan, Liberman has averred, is that the Arab-Israelis of those cities often identify closely with the Palestinian cause, even going as far as to reject Israel’s right to exist and calling for its destruction.