Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid released a statement Tuesday night in which he
boasted about his efforts to help Israel explain Operation Pillar of Defense to
the international community and accused Avigdor Liberman’s Foreign Ministry of
failing to cooperate with him.
Sources close to Lapid noted that when
Ehud Olmert was prime minister, he asked then-opposition leader Binyamin
Netanyahu to help explain Israel’s operations against Hamas and
Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni did the same for Prime
Minister Netanyahu when she was opposition leader.
“I am trying to help
in the public diplomacy effort with the foreign press,” Lapid wrote. “But
despite my request, the Foreign Ministry did not agree to give me its message
sheet so I could coordinate my positions with the official
Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responded that he
personally briefed Lapid’s aide for 15 minutes and told her that all of the
ministry’s messages are available on its website and in emails that he and
everyone else around the world could sign up to receive regularly.
takes a heck of a lot of chutzpah,” Palmor said. “The messages against Hamas are
clear. Do I really have to spell it out for an important political leader? He
does not need special treatment.”
Speaking in the crisp British accented
English he received from his childhood in London, Lapid was interviewed by a
German television station and the BBC in front of an Iron Dome anti-missile
battery in Ashdod.
“No country on earth would tolerate its people being
shot at,” he said. “There have been 12,000 missiles shot at Israeli women and
children. Think of London, Liverpool or Birmingham being shot at constantly for
years. Eventually England would have said something, right?” When asked if
Israel’s response was disproportionate, Lapid said: “We were brought up to
believe that the weaker side is always just and the stronger side is always
wrong. In this case it’s the other way around. This is a democracy doing its
best to save lives of civilians, Palestinians included. The weaker side is a
terror organization, whose flag is to kill innocent people, so the equation is
wrong this time.”
Lapid said in the press release that when he is asked
whether he believes the operation’s timing is connected to the general election,
he responds with disbelief.
“There is a limit to cynicism,” he said. “I
don’t think the prime minister was influenced by such considerations.”