January 5

Israeli hardliners object to Kerry pressure

The hardliners oppose a pullback to the 1967 border lines on security and ideological grounds.

By Josef Federman
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

“A government that accepts the 1967 lines is committing national suicide. We will not be part of it and will try to replace it,” said Ayelet Shaked, the party’s faction chairwoman.

Netanyahu’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said any final peace deal would have to redraw the borders to place large chunks of Israel’s Arab minority on the Palestinian side.

“Without swapping territory and populations, Yisrael Beitenu will not support an agreement,” he told a group of diplomats.

Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu Party formed a joint list with Netanyahu’s Likud before parliamentary elections last year. The union makes up the largest faction in parliament, and Lieberman’s withdrawal from the coalition would rob Netanyahu of his parliamentary majority.

Lieberman insisted his proposal would not uproot anyone from their homes. Instead, he said the border would be moved.

“There is no reason why they shouldn’t join their brothers the Palestinians under full Palestinian sovereignty and become citizens of the future Palestinian state, which they yearn for so much,” Lieberman said.

Both the Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, who make up about 20 percent of Israel’s population, oppose the plan, saying it would undermine the rights of Israel’s Arab minority.

If either hardline partner bolts from Netanyahu’s coalition, dovish opposition parties have said they would provide Netanyahu with the support he needs to keep his parliamentary majority.

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