Lapid: EU settlement directives boost extremists, hurt peace hopes

Finance minister pens op-ed for 'The New York Times' and says guidelines “encourage nothing but delay in peace negotiations.”

Finance Minister Yair Lapid 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The European Union’s decision to exclude all entities operating in Jewish settlements in the West Bank from funding of joint projects with Israel will only encourage extremists in the region and lessen the chances of peace with the Palestinians, Finance Minister Yair Lapid charged.
In an op-ed piece which appeared in Friday editions of The New York Times, Lapid wrote that the new guidelines, which aroused considerable anger among Israeli officials, “encourage nothing but delay in the resumption of peace negotiations.”
The finance minister said that the EU decision plays into the hands of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah.
“From their perspective, as long as the Palestinians steer clear of the negotiating table, their situation will improve,” Lapid wrote. “The premise of this militant Palestinian rejectionism is rather simple: As the years pass, the international isolation of Israel will increase.”
Lapid said that the new directives threaten to undermine efforts to maintain the fragile trust that has been established between his government and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.
“[T]his nascent cooperation is in jeopardy now, because of the well-intentioned but misguided folks in Brussels who do not appreciate the nuances of our region,” Lapid wrote.
“In one fell swoop, they have emboldened the extremists, allowing them to triumphantly claim to Mr. Abbas, ‘You see, we were right all along. You must not negotiate. We don’t have to do anything. The international community will do our job for us’.”