Lapid: If Hamas accepts Israel, our position would change

Finance minister blames failure of talks on Bennett, Bayit Yehudi; Erdan calls for Israel to annex Area C in response to unity pact.

Yair Lapid  (photo credit: Reuters)
Yair Lapid
(photo credit: Reuters)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid reacted to the implication that Hamas would recognize Israel as part of a Fatah-Hamas unity government in an interview with Army Radio Sunday morning.
"If Hamas accepts the terms of the international community, the situation will change from our point of view," he said.
In an additional interview with Israel Radio on Sunday morning, Lapid expanded on his terms for Hamas naming the three principles set up by the international community: Hamas must recognize Israel, renounce terrorism, and recognize past agreements between the PLO and Israel.
If Hamas accepts these terms, Lapid said, "the organization will no longer be Hamas, and we will have something to talk about, but at the moment we don't see that process happening."
On Army Radio, Lapid explained why he didn't quit the government following the suspension of peace negotiations.
"Hamas will not determine whether Yesh Atid remains in the coalition or not," he said.
In the interview, Lapid attacked the conduct of Bayit Yehudi over the last few months of peace talks, accusing party leader Naftali Bennett of sabotaging negotiations.
"I'm against the fact that every time we want to advance in the talks, you get up in the morning and reveal new building plans in places that will not remain ours in a permanent agreement," he said.
Bennett responded to the accusation on the air following Lapid's interview, saying, "For nine months we didn't open our mouths and we let Tzipi Livni and Saeb Erekat speak. It was blackmail, just releasing terrorists."
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan called for Israel to annex Area C of the West Bank in response to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's decision to form a unity government with Hamas.
The Likud minister , a member of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's security cabinet , told Army Radio, "I suggest we begin to prepare to annex Area C. Where there is a Jewish population that needs to stay where it is, we can begin preparations to annex it if there is no Palestinian partner and the situation is unlikely to change."
Erdan said that Abbas and the Palestinians "must understand that there is a price to running away from the negotiating table and unifying with a terrorist organization."