Finance Minister Yair Lapid believes negotiations between Israel and Hamas are still possible, despite what other members of the coalition, such as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, believe.
In a conversation with The Wall Street Journal, Lapid answered the question as to whether or not talks with the terrorist group would ever be possible by replying, “It’s not like it didn’t happen before.”
The Yesh Atid chairman pointed out that “the PLO used to be a terrorist organization,” insinuating his openness to change in organizations and the possibility that future talks between Israel and Hamas may be possible.
Lapid’s statements contradicted those by many other government officials, who have publicly ruled out any discussions with Hamas and Fatah after the factions signed a unity agreement.
Following the agreement, the EU issued a statement supporting Palestinian reconciliation and unity, but Netanyahu was defiant that Israel would not deal with a Palestinian government backed by Hamas, which is committed to Israel’s destruction.
Netanyahu said both he and US Secretary of State John Kerry were “absolutely stupefied” that PA President Mahmoud Abbas embraced Hamas.
Lapid’s spokeswoman on Saturday clarified his statement, saying that Lapid told the Journal that he is open to talks with Hamas only if they were to denounce terrorism, recognize Israel’s existence, and accept previous agreements.