“Anyone who’s with us should be given everything – up to half the kingdom. Anyone who’s against us, there’s nothing to do – we should raise an axe and cut off his head; otherwise we won’t survive here,” Lieberman said at an election event Sunday, in reference to Palestinian citizens of Israel.
According to Israel’s Mako news website, Lieberman made his comments in an interview with journalist Udi Segal during the “Electing Democracy in 2015” conference at IDC Herzliya, an Israeli college.
There are about 1.5 million Palestinians, survivors and descendants of those who escaped expulsion from present-day Israel in 1948, who are nominally citizens of Israel. Palestinians commemorate this ethnic cleansing, which they call the Nakba (Arabic for “catastrophe”) every year on 15 May.
While they have a vote in Israel’s upcoming election, Palestinian citizens of Israel face relentless legal and social discrimination and violent incitement and calls for expulsion.
Lieberman wants ethnic cleansing
“There’s no reason for Umm al-Fahm to be part of the State of Israel,” Lieberman said in reference to a large town in the north of present-day Israel with a predominantly Palestinian population. “Citizens in the State of Israel who fly a black flag on Nakba Day – as far as I’m concerned they should go away, and I’ll donate them to Abu Mazen with great joy.”
Lieberman’s reference to “donating” Palestinian citizens of Israel to “Abu Mazen” – the Palestinian Authority’s leader Mahmoud Abbas – amounts to a renewed call for ethnic cleansing.
The Israeli foreign minister, who heads the extreme anti-Palestinian Yisrael Beiteinuparty, has a long history of violent incitement. In a recent Facebook posting, Liebermancalled for the execution of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
According to polls, Lieberman’s party is set to lose seats at the upcoming 17 March parliamentary election. His comments may be an effort to galvanize Israel’s anti-Arab vote, which has been drifting to other openly genocidal parties such as Naftali Bennett’sparty Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home).
It is not only Israel’s right-wing politicians who appeal to voters with incitement to violence against Palestinians; Israel’s ostensible left does it as well. In a recent election ad, Yitzhak Herzog, head of Israel’s allegedly dovish Labor Party, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of not hitting Gaza hard enough.
Lieberman’s latest violent incitement will feed comparisons frequently made between Israel – the self-declared “Jewish state” – with ISIS (or ISIL), the self-declared “Islamic State” notorious for its brutal beheadings of hostages in the areas it occupies in Iraq and Syria.