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Lieberman: Swap Arab towns for West Bank settlements in peace deal

Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and Defense Minister in Israel [File photo]
Avigdor Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and Defence Minister in Israel [File photo]

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday reiterated his support for a land and population swap of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Speaking to students at Ariel University, based in a settlement deep in the West Bank, Lieberman declared that “the principle of land for peace has failed.”

Instead, Lieberman said, the best approach “is an exchange of territories and population.”

The Triangle, a cluster of Palestinian towns and villages close to the north-west border of the West Bank, and Umm Al-Fahm, a town of some 50,000 Palestinian citizens, were named by Lieberman as areas that could become part of a Palestinian state in a peace deal.

He claimed that, as foreign minister, the ministry’s legal advisors had informed him that such a move “was possible according to international law.”

The Yisrael Beiteinu party leader also told his Ariel audience that he is in favour of annexing the Gush Etzion and Ma’ale Adumim settlement “blocs”.

Lieberman urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party “to adopt the principle of land exchanges.”

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