Yair Lapid says in Ariel address, he won’t join cabinet that stalls peace talks with PA

Yesh Atid party head Yair Lapid, attacks Netanyahu for saying Palestinians were not a ‘partner’ for peace & says Israel must retain control of an undivided Jerusalem.

By Revital Hovel


The Yesh Atid party won’t join a government that continues to avoid resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, party head Yair Lapid said in a speech at the Ariel University Center of Samaria on Tuesday.

Yair Lapid speaking in Beit Shemesh

Yair Lapid speaking in Beit Shemesh, Oct. 28, 2012. – Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

Lapid’s comments and criticism of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies came a day after Netanyahu’s Likud party voted to approve a merger with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, finalizing the move first announced by the two party leaders last week.

Likud members, meeting in Tel Aviv’s Exhibition Grounds, voted to approve the move by an overwhelming majority, despite recent and vocal criticism against the bid from within the party.

Speaking in Ariel on Tuesday, Lapid announced that his party wouldn’t join a government that “won’t return to the diplomatic negotiations table.”

“We won’t sit in a cabinet that again will try to phase out – using several excuses and motivated by narrow political considerations – our commitment for the future and the present,” Lapid said.

Lapid also called Netanyahu’s claim that there wasn’t a Palestinian “partner” for peace an evasive maneuver, asking: “What partner is he expecting? Are there Israel-loving partners, JNF donors, secret Ben-Gurion fans hiding throughout the Palestinian Authority?”

“The only thing which the ‘no-partner’ policy achieved is weakening Israel’s standing in the international arena and bolstering Hamas, as was evident from the Qatar Emir’s recent visit to Gaza,” Lapid said.

However, despite his criticism, the Yesh Atid party chief said he was opposed to recognizing Palestinian refugees’ right of return, adding that “Jerusalem will remain under Israeli control and won’t be divided.”

On the Iranian issue, Lapid said that “Israel took a wrong turn in the ongoing debate on Iran’s nuclear program,” adding that while “bombing the Iranian nuclear [program] is an option that can’t be taken off the table, it’s a last resort.”

View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/in-ariel-address-yair-lapid-says-won-t-join-cabinet-that-stalls-peace-talks-with-pa-1.473320