Lieberman defends Qalqilya plan, says he is giving the Palestinians "sticks and carrots"

Confrontation during Lieberman's visit to Samaria: While Lieberman defended the Qalqilya plan, the head of the Samaria Regional Council head warned of the dangers to all Israelis. Ayala Shapira, seriously wounded by a Molotov cocktail in 2014, confronted Lieberman: "I had to be injured so that they'd build a highway for my settlement."
Avigdor Lieberman and Yossi Dagan Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman visited the Samaria Regional Council today (Wednesday) a few hours before the cabinet meeting to discuss plans to expand the Palestinian city Qalqilya. Relations between the government and the heads of the settler movement- led head of the council, Yossi Dagan- have been tense since the plan was first proposed.

Ayala Shapira, who was severely injured in a terror attack in 2014 when a Molotov cocktail was thrown at her father's car, joined Dagan, Lieberman and Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan. Shapira, 14, sharply criticized the Qalqilya plan, and asked Lieberman: "Why is a security highway for my settlement only being built after I was injured, while the Palestinians are getting construction for free?"

The attendees discussed the construction plan with the Defense Minister and Lieberman emphasized that only 6,000 units were being built in Qalqilya and not 14,000. Lieberman also stressed that "you can see on the maps that the construction is happening within the fence" and that it will be carried out on private Palestinian land only.

Dagan refused to agree with the minister and insisted that he retract his support for the plan. "Doubling Qalqilya, the city of terror, endangers the residents of the Sharon and of Samaria," he said. "Whoever promotes such a program is only promoting Palestinian interests."

According to Lieberman, "Qalqilya is trapped inside of the security fence and the construction will take place in a Palestinian area that no Jew will ever reach. The plan is supposed to be implemented in stages, only 400 residential units will be built a year." He continued: "The argument is not about Qalqiliya, it's just an excuse. There's a real argument happening on the right. Between a responsible and serious right and a Messianic and populist right."

Lieberman referred to his plan as granting the Palestinians "sticks and carrots" and said that "the plan received absolute support from the top security echelons in Israel."

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