JERUSALEM — Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his call on Monday for some Arabs to be stripped of their Israeli citizenship and moved to a new Palestinian state as part of a final peace deal.
|A Palestinian protester stands in front of Israeli border police officers as they block the way outside the West Bank city of Jericho January 10, 2012. Some 60 Palestinians tried on Tuesday to drive in a motorcade on Route 60, the main Jewish settler road in the West Bank, to protest against Israeli curbs on Palestinian movement in the West Bank.|
"It's time to say these things clearly," Lieberman said.
The far-right foreign minister made the comments ahead of a meeting between Israeli and Palestinian peace negotiators later Monday in Jordan.
Lieberman, the leader of the right-wing extremist party Yisrael Beiteinu, is known to harbor hostile views towards Palestinians and has previously outraged human rights groups for remarks against Arabs.
He also came under fire for a proposed 2010 loyalty oath bill that would require Arab citizens to swear loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state in order to retain Israeli citizenship.
Not short of controversy, Lieberman is also facing a criminal investigation on corruption allegations. Earlier this year state attorneys recommended he be charged with fraud, money-laundering, breach of trust and witness tampering.
Arab citizens in Israel are remnants of a Palestinian population that stayed in their native lands following the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were driven out of their homes during Israel's violent creation in what Palestinians commemorate as the Nakba.
Arab citizens form 20 percent of Israel's population, with an additional 4 million Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Israel maintains a military occupation of the West Bank, and continues to expand illegal Jewish settlements in the territory in defiance of international law.