Yair Lapid .
(photo credit: Reuters)
There is great doubt that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is interested in reaching a peace agreement with Israel, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said on Friday morning.
Lapid implied that his Yesh Atid party was disappointed by a list of demands published on Thursday by the PA for continuing talks past their scheduled deadline at the end of April.
"When the list of PA demands was published, which appeared more like a tool to ruin the negotiations, the only people that were happy were the extreme right wing, who prefer to wait for the Massiah instead of finding a solution," Lapid said.
"Yesh Atid will continue to support the separation from the Palestinians, but Abbas needs to know that at this time his demands are working against him," he added.
Two of the new conditions on the list included Israeli recognition of the pre-1967 lines as the future borders of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital and the release of 1,200 additional Palestinian prisoners, according to PA officials in Ramallah.
The Palestinians are also demanding that Israel release three senior terrorists: Marwan Barghouti, Ahmed Sa’adat and Fuad Shobaki.
The conditions also include a complete cessation of settlement construction, the imposition of PA sovereignty over Area C in the West Bank, a halt to Israeli military operations in PA-controlled territories, and “reunion” permits for some 15,000 Palestinians.
Other conditions include reopening the Gaza border crossings, lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip, and permitting the return of Palestinian terrorists who were deported to the Gaza Strip and Europe after they sought shelter from the IDF in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002.