Israel won’t hold peace talks with Palestinians even after PM rotation - Lapid

Lapid made the remarks days after Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

From left to right: MK Idit Silman (Yamina), Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESWOMAN - NOAM MOSKOWITZ)
From left to right: MK Idit Silman (Yamina), Defense Minister Benny Gantz, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESWOMAN - NOAM MOSKOWITZ)

Israel will not negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians even when Foreign Minister Yair Lapid becomes prime minister after the planned rotation in 2023, he said on Monday.

“Even after a coalition rotation, I will remain with the same people and the same disagreements” about the Palestinian issue, Lapid said in a briefing. “I plan to stand behind the agreement I made with my partners.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his Yamina Party oppose a Palestinian state, as does Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope Party, but the other parties in the coalition support one under different conditions. The coalition has a narrow majority such that it cannot afford to lose the support of any of its parties, or an election would likely be triggered.

As such, “there is no reason for me to delude the Palestinians and open a diplomatic process that doesn’t have a coalition behind it…That would damage our credibility, which is important,” Lapid said.

Lapid made the remarks days after Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The foreign minister said he has not spoken with Abbas but did talk to other senior Palestinian officials, which he declined to name, about specific matters.

 Foreign Minister and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid at his faction's meeting, December 13, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Foreign Minister and Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid at his faction's meeting, December 13, 2021. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
 

The foreign minister said there is not significant international pressure to negotiate with the Palestinians, but he expressed concern that Israel will be portrayed as refusing to make peace while the Palestinians are pursuing it.

“Without diplomatic talks, [delegitimization] will get worse,” he warned.

Lapid pointed to the Palestinians’ suits against Israel in the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, as well as its policy of paying terrorists and their families after they kill Israelis, and said that the Palestinians are not actually promoting peace.