Lapid criticizes ally Bennett on Palestinian state

Rare criticism follows Bayit Yehudi head's pronouncement on death of two-state solution; Liberman rules out peace with PA.

Lapid looking sullen 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Lapid looking sullen 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid issued rare criticism of his ally, Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, when he said on Wednesday that Israel should make every effort to bring about two states for two peoples.
Bennett made waves on Monday when he declared that the two-state solution had hit a dead end and compared the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians to a bullet shard in a behind.
Bennett used the analogy as an illustration of how Israel can learn to live with a Palestinian presence in Area C. “There are situations in which striving for perfection can cause more harm than good,” he said.
Lapid told Channel 2 that he disagreed. “Not having two states means that Israel would be a bi-national state, which would be the end of Zionism,” he warned.
The finance minister said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was taking steps behind the scenes to advance the diplomatic process that were unknown to the public.
Meanwhile, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Avigdor Liberman ruled out any chance of achieving an agreement with the Palestinians under the current circumstances, in an interview published on Wednesday with the Middle East website Al-Monitor.
Following Bennett’s statements, Liberman joins other right-wing politicians, including Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, who have enhanced a negative atmosphere on the diplomatic front ahead of the arrival of US Secretary of State John Kerry next week.
“If you keep spreading around hopes and expectations all the time and they cannot be realized, it only ends up causing disappointment and frustration,” Liberman said. “From a diplomatic point of view, uncertainty is the most difficult period. Right now there’s no chance of reaching a diplomatic arrangement with the Palestinians.”
Liberman blamed the difficulty in achieving a diplomatic breakthrough on the split between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the failure to hold Palestinian elections and changes in the Middle East that have made the Arab League less able to support a Palestinian leader interested in making concessions.
The former foreign minister said he opposed making gestures to the Palestinians to bring them to the negotiating table, such as releasing Palestinian terrorists from Israeli prisons.
Asked about the coalition’s staying power, he said it was too soon to tell.
“This is not a traditional coalition. It takes time until all the components start working together in a synchronized fashion,” he said.