Israeli foreign minister says Arabs should be paid to leave

A woman pushes a pram as she walks in a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem known to Israelis as Har Homa and to Palestinians as Jabal Abu Ghneim.REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman included some controversial statements in the Yisrael Beiteinu party's peace plan on Friday.

The party's platform was recently updated by the politician, and includes a proposal to pay Israeli Arabs to move to a future Palestine state, Haaretz reports.

"As for Israeli Arabs, any agreement must include a plan for territorial and population exchange," Lieberman wrote in regards to having peace with Palestine.

"An arrangement of this kind with the Palestinian state will allow Israeli Arabs who do not identify with the State of Israel to become part of the Palestinian state.

"This will, first of all, resolve the problem of Arabs in the Wadi Ara triangle, adjacent to the Palestinian territories, who will be able to become citizens of the Palestinian state without leaving their homes."

Lieberman said that his proposal would help Israeli Arabs who "feel that they are part of the Palestinian people, to resolve this issue of duality and divided loyalties from which they are suffering," and added that " Israel should even encourage them with economic incentives."

The Israel-Palestinian conflict is one of the longest and most explosive struggles in world history. While the Yisrael Beiteinu platform did not address the issues of Israel's borders, control of Jerusalem, or Israeli settlements, Lieberman said that his priority is unifying people, not territories.

"In the argument over the unity of the land versus the unity of the people – the latter takes precedence," he wrote. "There can be no compromise over the unity of the people and we will never be able to recover from the loss of this unity."

The foreign minister insisted that now is the best time to push forward an agreement between Israel, Arab nations, and the Palestinians, because there are greater conflicts threatening the Middle East.

"Moderate Arab countries... understand that the main threat to them today is not from Israel or from Zionism, but from radical Islamic organizations like Isis, Jabhat al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Hezbollah," Lieberman said.

"For the first time, therefore, we can now reach a comprehensive agreement, the terms of which are reasonable and acceptable to Israel."