Yair Lapid Speaking521.
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid expressed cautious optimism about peace talks
Saturday, after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced the opening of
negotiations. Lapid addressed both the political Left and Right on his Facebook
“To the Left we say: We must negotiate the way that is customary in
the Middle East – with toughness and suspicion, while trying to ‘sell at a high
price’ and not compromise on the essential assets of the State of Israel,” Lapid
wrote on Facebook.
The Yesh Atid leader’s message to the Right was “we
must separate ourselves from the Palestinians, because a binational state means
the end of Zionism. We need to approach this process with courage, based on a
two-state solution, because we cannot surrender to despair, to giving up, to
whoever says ‘there's nothing we can do.’ There is what to do. There always
“Israel is looking for a fair divorce, not a happy marriage,” Lapid
wrote, paraphrasing author Amos Oz.
Lapid added that he analyzed possible
scenarios and discussed them with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and
concluded that he feels “cautious hope.”
Opposition leader Shelly
Yacimovich (Labor) praised the renewed negotiations.
“These talks are the
fruits of America’s effort, but they are first and foremost in our interest,”
she said. “An important opportunity is open, and we must finally progress toward
attaining an agreement between us and the Palestinians.”
negotiations are not enough, and Israel must do all it can to reach an
“I hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu will declare clearly
that he supports a two-state solution and will make the necessary decisions to
ensure the continued fulfillment of the Zionist dream of a Jewish, democratic
state,” she added.
Several other Labor MKs sent congratulatory messages,
with faction chairman Isaac Herzog saying Kerry’s push for talks is “an
impressive achievement” and that the sides should not give up despite their
Meanwhile, MK Eitan Cabel warned that “the fact that we need
to send congratulations for an action that is in Israel’s interest attests to
Netanyahu’s diplomatic failure.”
Environmental Protection Minister Amir
Peretz praised the renewal of peace talks, saying that Hatnua is in the
government for the precise purpose of moving negotiations forward and of
supporting Netanyahu as they take place, in order to ensure a better
“This is a great opportunity that cannot be missed, and I call
for Labor and the peace camp to support it and strengthen it,” Peretz wrote on
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On called Kerry’s announcement an
important development, but said that in order for it to be a true opportunity,
“the government must understand that negotiations that are not based on ’67
lines and land swaps are not negotiations.”
“If Netanyahu will understand
this and truly act to end the occupation, even if it leads to the departure of
coalition partners who are against peace, I promise that Meretz will be there to
give him a parliamentary back up,” she wrote on Facebook.
Peace Now plans
to open a new campaign in the next few days in support of the talks, which it
said provided a moment of truth for Israel. A majority of the Knesset and the
Israeli public support the talks and they cannot afford to be silent, Peace Now
said.Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.