Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lieberman lays out J’lem plans

During tour of City of David, strategic affairs minister says Israel 'prepared to swap territories and populations' "We are not surrendering anything. The word surrender doesn't exist in our dictionary. We are prepared to swap territories and populations," declared Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman, during a tour with his faction of the City of David in Jerusalem Wednesday.

"I don't think that the State of Israel needs to subsidize refugee camps - whether it is in the Nablus area, Gaza, or Jerusalem. Not Abu-Dis, and not Shuafat," said the strategic affairs minister.

Regarding the option of transferring Arab neighborhoods surrounding Jerusalem to Palestinian control, the minister for strategic affairs said: "There is no resident who comes from the city center to his home and passes through Abu Dis, because no such road or path exists.

"The distance between Bethlehem and Gilo is nothing.... We need to understand that in our reality, the range from almost any place to Jerusalem... does not exist. What guarantees security in the end is not distance... but the determination of the security forces and the Israeli government. The issue of swapping territories and populations is primarily demographic," Lieberman said.

Addressing construction in east Jerusalem, Lieberman said, "I don't recognize a difference between east and west. I also... think we are making a mistake by not building in areas A-1. What is ours is ours.

But the red line, from Yisrael Beitenu's perspective, is the Old City. "There is a major difference between Abu-Dis and the Old City," Lieberman emphasized, adding that Israeli sovereignty in the Old City is indisputable and non-negotiable.

"Unlike Beilin, we are not willing to give up one millimeter," he said.

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