NEW YORK – Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid unveiled his new diplomatic plan, which calls for an American-brokered regional diplomatic agreement that will be reached at an Egyptian-hosted Arab League summit for Israel, at Sunday’s Jerusalem Post Conference in New York.
Twenty years of negotiations with the Palestinians has proved that a deal cannot be achieved via direct bilateral talks, Lapid said, recommending abandoning such talks.
“The maximum we can offer is less than the minimum they can accept,” he said.
Lapid reiterated his support for a two-state solution, saying that there is no option other than separating from the Palestinians. Israel cannot absorb 3.5 million Palestinians and remain a Jewish and democratic state, he said.
“The existential threat of a binational state is real and lies around the corner. Israel’s radicals, from Right and Left, are pushing us in that direction with all sorts of messianic delusions. That will be the end of Zionism and under no circumstances can we allow it to happen.”
Although Lapid said the Saudi peace initiative of 2002 could be the basis for the talks along with American-promoted plans, he ruled out the initiative’s call for a Palestinian right of return and an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Lapid challenged the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to become more proactive on the diplomatic front and improve his relations with US President Barack Obama. Involving the Arab League could help open the Israeli economy to new markets, such as Malaysia and Indonesia, he said.
“Good things happen when people talk to one another, when leaders act like leaders,” he said.
On the effort to prevent boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israel, Lapid said it was “time to move from defense to offense” and expose the fact that the BDS movement is a puppet of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. He recommended going to college campuses abroad and telling BDS advocates that they are not supporting the oppressed but rather the people behind the September 11 attacks, who kill gays and abuse women.