The Palestinians need to work on building a state for themselves instead of focusing on terrorism and death, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Lapid recounted his participation in pro-Israel events in Europe, on the outskirts of which protesters chanted, “Free Palestine.”
“Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela knew something about freedom that those protesters do not understand. They knew that freedom is not just a gift you are given.
Freedom is a responsibility... a moral duty,” he said.
As someone who is committed to a two-state solution, Lapid said, he needs to know what kind of state the Palestinians want to build.
“What is their version of freedom?” he asked. “What price are they willing to pay for it? What responsibilities are they willing to take upon themselves?” Lapid pointed out that the Palestinian Authority has existed for more than 20 years and Israelis do not have a presence in Palestinian cities except when there are security needs.
The Palestinians, he said, have built a corrupt governing system without an effective judiciary or modern industry. In addition, the “Palestinian education system poisons the minds of six- and seven-years-olds, every single day, with antisemitic propaganda of the worst kind.
“That’s not freedom. When they tell their children that Jews are monkeys and pigs, they are not marching toward the liberation of Palestine, they are putting new chains on their own ankles,” he said.
Lapid detailed the way Palestinian terrorists and their families receive salaries from the PA, which uses the donations it receives from other countries for this purpose.
“Instead of building something, instead of creating something, they choose a culture of murder and destruction,” he stated.
Lapid described Palestinians who carry keys to their forebears’ homes in Haifa and Safed and said that they wouldn’t have had to leave if the Arabs had accepted the 1947 Partition Plan, but in any case, they should focus less on the past and more on the future.
“In the words of Alan Dershowitz – maybe grow up already?” he quipped. “Israel has over six million Jews who could travel the world with a key. Keys to homes in Iraq, in Morocco, in Iran and Algeria. Keys in Poland, in Germany, in Hungary. We don’t do that because self-pity is not an efficient policy.”
Lapid called on the Palestinians to “free [themselves] from the past and go build a future. If you do that, we will be the first to help you.”