Lapid accuses FM of failing to cooperate on Gaza op

Yesh Atid leader accuses Avigdor Liberman's foreign ministry of explaining Operation Pillar of Defense.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
November 21, 2012 02:17
2 minute read.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid 370. (photo credit: Efrat Sa'ar)

 
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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 Hezbollah.

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Former foreign minister Tzipi Livni did the same for Prime Minister Netanyahu when she was opposition leader.

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“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 spokesmen.”

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.

“That 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.”

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