Arab List in a Panic Over Triangle Land Exchange

Taibe. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

While the United Arab List opposes President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan because the Palestinian Authority opposes it, the party has another reason to dislike it; among the possibilities for the establishment of a Palestinian state is transferring territory currently in Israel proper to the PA state, if or when it is established.

The area in question, roughly north of Kalkilye up to the area of Umm el-Faham, is known as “the triangle.” Located along the 1949 armistice lines, the area contains the bulk of Israeli Arabs. According to the plan, Israel could cede those areas to a PA state, in exchange for areas of Yehuda and Shomron that Israel would annex.

“The Triangle Communities consist of Kafr Qara, Ar’ara, Baha al-Gharbiyye, Umm al Fahm, Qalansawe, Tayibe, Kafr Qasim, Tira, Kafr Bara and Jaljulia,” the Trump plan says. “These communities, which largely self-identify as Palestinian, were originally designated to fall under Jordanian control during the negotiations of the Armistice Line of 1949, but ultimately were retained by Israel for military reasons that have since been mitigated. The Vision contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine. In this agreement, the civil rights of the residents of the triangle communities would be subject to the applicable laws and judicial rulings of the relevant authorities.”

The plan is similar to that touted years ago by Yisrael Beytenu head Avigdor Liberman, who sought to rally support for a similar “land swap.” Then, as now, Arab and leftist politicians were vehemently opposed to the idea. UAL head Ayman Odeh said that the plan “gives a green light to removing the citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Arabs in the triangle. My party will fight this racism with all resources at our disposal. All citizens, Jews and Arabs, who believe in democracy and peace must oppose this dangerous idea. We will not allow this ‘transfer’ to take place.”

It should be noted that no Arabs – or Jews – will be required to move from their homes under the plan. The plan calls for the realignment of borders, not removing residents. According to the plan, “Peace should not demand the uprooting of people – Arab or Jew – from their homes. Such a construct, which is more likely to lead to civil unrest, runs counter to the idea of co-existence.” Odeh said that the Arab National Committee would hold a rally in Umm el-Faham over the weekend against the idea.

If such an exchange is made, the new areas of the PA state will have at least one Jewish resident – Army Radio broadcaster Hadas Steif. “I am also a resident of the triangle,” she said in a social media post. “The Arabs here are not only my neighbors, they are my friends. They are full Israelis, now and forever, and they will remain that way. If they even begin to murmur about doing this, I will go to live in their towns, and hundreds of thousands will come with me. We are all residents of the triangle.”