Israel's defense minister calls on to boycott Arab citizens of Israel

Source: Xinhua| 2017-12-10 18:55:20|Editor: Zhou Xin
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JERUSALEM, Dec. 10 (Xinhua) -- Israel's defense minister Avigdor Lieberman called Sunday to boycott Arab business in an area where residents clashed with the police over U.S. President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Lieberman, chairman of the ultra-nationalist "Israel Our Home" party, told Army Radio that Arabs in the Wadi Ara region in northern Israel "are not part of us" and "do not belong to the State of Israel."

He also called on Jewish Israelis "to boycott Wadi Ara - stop going to their shops, stop buying, stop consuming services there. Let them feel they are unwelcome here."

His remark triggered condemnations from Arab lawmakers. Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Arab-Jewish Joint List faction, denounced Lieberman as a "representative of fascism in (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu's ultra-right-wing government."

Odeh said in a statement that "the thought that such a person is in charge of state security should be worrisome to any sane citizen."

On Saturday, hundreds of Arab citizens of Israel rallied in Wadi Ara as part of a "day of rage" in the wake of the Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and his plan to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In the evening, after the main rally, dozens of young masked men hurled stones at buses and police vehicles along a major highway in the region. The police said that three Israelis were injured and several vehicles were damaged.

Lieberman has long called for a peace agreement based on lands swap and transfer of Arab population from Wadi Ara to the Palestinian National Authority.

Israeli Arabs, also called Palestinian citizens of Israel, are the descendants of the Palestinians who stayed in their lands during Israel's Independence War in 1948.

They received Israeli citizenship and full rights. However, they still suffer discrimination as a result of lack of job opportunities and racism, and according to official figures, Arab towns have lower budgets for health, education, transportation, and municipal services in comparison to Israeli towns. They constitute some 20 percent of the Israeli population.