Yesh Atid’s leadership sent mixed messages about its platform on Jerusalem,
after faction leader Ofer Shelah said the city is likely to be capital of a
Palestinian state, while Finance Minister Yair Lapid stated the opposite when
campaigning ahead of this year’s election.
The Yesh Atid platform says
“Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and its unity is a national symbol
of the utmost importance.
Jerusalem will stay united and under Israeli
Jerusalem is not just a place or a city, but the center of
the Jewish-Israeli ethos and the holy place on which Jewish people set their
sights in every generation.”
Speaking at a Peace Now conference in Tel
Aviv Monday night, Shelah sang a decidedly different tune: “I don’t see a
possible agreement with the Palestinians in which they will not be able to call
east Jerusalem their capital, just like I don’t see a possible agreement that
isn’t based on ‘67 borders.
“The solution in Jerusalem will be very
complex. It will be one of words and of actions,” Shelah added. “We cannot just
build a wall and say ‘this is ours and this is yours.’” Shelah, a former
television and print journalist, never hid his opinions, which put him at the
far left in the spectrum of opinions within Yesh Atid.
Last week, he
wrote on Facebook “the occupation must end not because of the world’s demands,
but for the good of our worthy existence here and due to the rising price we
have to pay for it every day.”
Still, the Yesh Atid faction leader’s
opinions defy not only the party platform but its leader’s explicit statements
during the party’s election campaign. During an event in the major settlement
Ariel last October, in which Lapid presented his diplomatic position, he
promised not to divide the capital.
“The Palestinians will have to
understand that we have iron principles that we will not break,” Lapid stated.
“The return to Zion wasn’t to the Azrieli Towers, it was to the Tower of David.
The heart of Jerusalem is also the heart of the State of Israel.”
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