Finance Minister Yair Lapid defended his decision to remain in the governing coalition despite the failure of peace talks, vowing in a speech to supporters at a Yesh Atid conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday not to give up on the stalled peace process.
In an address in which he summed up his party’s activities in its first year in the government, Lapid said the party had taken on the most difficult issues in Israeli society and would continue to do so, including in the diplomatic arena.
“We now need to get the diplomatic process back on track and we will not relax or raise our hands in resignation,” Lapid said.
Lapid said that the future of peace talks, which came to a halt last month amid Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s decision to seek a unity government with Hamas, will become more clear in the near future.
“In a few weeks time, we will know what kind of government Abu Mazen [Abbas] is forming, and then we will decide how we reignite the process,” Lapid said.
Lapid rejected his detractors on the Left who have attacked him for remaining in the government despite the failure of peace talks thus far.
“Only people who are not serious can say that in a conflict that has gone on for 150 years, when there is a three-week delay, then immediately we must become hysterical and dismantle the government and together with it the chance to gain separation from the Palestinians.”
He added that “in this type of negotiation, there are countless crises and moments when you walk on the edge, but you must maintain calm and continue to work.”
“Just as we have not given up easily on any issue, we will not give up until we are separated from the Palestinians. Us, on this side, them on the other side,” Lapid stated.