Dubai: The Israeli regime’s hard-line foreign minister says he supports paying Palestinian citizens to leave the country.
In a manifesto of his Yisrael Beitenu party published on Friday, Avigdor Lieberman says he favours ceding Palestinian majority areas that fall under regime-claimed territory in the north to a future Palestinian state and providing economic incentives for the indigenous residents — about 20 per cent of Israel’s population of 8 million — to encourage them to emigrate.
The manifesto does not set out positions on the most difficult issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the status of occupied Jerusalem, the future of Jewish colonies in the occupied West Bank and Israel’s borders.
Lieberman is seen as harbouring prime ministerial ambitions himself.
His offer to pay Palestinian citizens to leave comes as Netanyahu pushes forward with a contentious parliamentary bill to formalise the regime’s status as a ‘Jewish state’ — a measure that many Palestinians say will institutionalise their status as second class citizens.
The bill, which Netanyahu says is necessary to safeguard Israel’s future, is opposed by a wide range of Israeli political figures, including the largely ceremonial president, but is strongly supported by right-wing members of his ruling coalition, including Lieberman.
Meanwhile, Israeli security forces fired tear gas at several dozen rock-throwing demonstrators at the Qalandiya checkpoint north of occupied Jerusalem following weekly prayers on Friday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.
— with inputs from AP