Situated in the south of Jerusalem, the project benefits from one of the city’s most prestigious and desirable locales, nestled in a particularly attractive area between the Talpiot neighborhood and the green groves of Kibbutz Ramat Rachel.
Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman’s proposal of several years ago, which he now has taken down from the attic and dusted it off, that some Arab towns and villages be handed over to a future Palestinian state in exchange for the Jewish towns and villages in Judea and Samaria – is not making him friends among Israeli Arabs.
The proposal, reports the Associated Press’ Aron Heller, has been rejected by both Palestinians and Israeli politicians, and deepened Israeli Arab fears that they are not welcome in the Jewish state, forcing them into the awkward position of insisting on staying Israeli.
“They say that their solidarity with their Palestinian brethren does not mean they are disloyal to their own country and should not be treated as second-class citizens,” Heller writes.
Lieberman is not saying anyone would be uprooted from their homes. Instead, the border would simply be adjusted to place Arab towns inside Palestinian territory.
He also insists that he would not support any peace agreement brokered by Kerry that does not include his demand.
Naturally, you’d have to be a fool to agree to live in the Heart of Darkness of Palestine, instead of the Western democracy next door.
“I didn’t come to Israel, Israel came to me. … They can’t take away my rights,” said Abdul Rahman Haj Yahiya, 79, an eighth-generation resident of Taybeh. “If Israelis can identify with Jews around the world, why can’t I identify with Arabs too?”
“In Taybeh, no one is open to the concept,” Heller writes. “The streets of this middle-class town are lined with shops and mosques just like any Arab village. Graffiti bearing the Palestinian flag can be found easily. ”
“You can’t uproot someone from their home. I was born here. I am Israeli,” said Nasser Saadat, 36. “We live with our Jewish neighbors, just like the Prophet Muhammad did. How can we go to another country?”
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