Lapid ally says US failed to bridge gaps between Israel, Palestinians

ByJPOST.COM STAFF
May 17, 2014 15:16

Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelach told a town hall meeting in Tel Aviv on Saturday that the Palestinians were no less guilty than Israel in the breakdown of the negotiations.

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Journalist Ofer Shelach

Ofer Shelach 370. (photo credit:Wikimedia Commons)

The lack of trust between Israel and Palestinians is what caused the peace talks to fail, Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelach said on Saturday during a town hall discussion at Habima National Theater in Tel Aviv.

He said that the US wasn't able to close the gaps between the two sides, and that both sides are to blame for the collapse of negotiations.

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The MK also discussed Yesh Atid's future in the current collation given the failure of the talks. "The coalition has an agenda, not connected to the peace talks. We made progress with the draft equality bill and we are fighting for gay and non-religious marriages in this country."

"If the peace talks were to restart, it would be because Yesh Atid agreed to stay in the coalition," said Shelach, a former journalist who has authored books on Israel's defense establishment and the military. "If we leave, will someone better come along?"

Yesh Atid had demanded that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu install Shelach as the head of the prestigious Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Netanyahu balked at the idea, instead demanding that Likud MK Tzachi Hanegbi take up the post.

The disagreement led to an impasse which dragged on for six months before Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid relented, agreeing to Netanyahu's proposal in which two Likud lawmakers would rotate the chairmanship of the panel - Yariv Levin and Ze'ev Elkin.

Israel Radio and Arik Bender contributed to this report.

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