Lapid: Peace talks must lead to 'fair divorce ' from Palestinians

Labor and Meretz offer PM support in attaining a peace treaty.

Yair Lapid Speaking521 (photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Yair Lapid Speaking521
(photo credit: Baz Ratner/Reuters)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid expressed cautious optimism about peace talks Saturday, after US Secretary of State John Kerry announced the opening of negotiations. Lapid addressed both the political Left and Right on his Facebook page.
“To the Left we say: We must negotiate the way that is customary in the Middle East – with toughness and suspicion, while trying to ‘sell at a high price’ and not compromise on the essential assets of the State of Israel,” Lapid wrote on Facebook.
The Yesh Atid leader’s message to the Right was “we must separate ourselves from the Palestinians, because a binational state means the end of Zionism. We need to approach this process with courage, based on a two-state solution, because we cannot surrender to despair, to giving up, to whoever says ‘there's nothing we can do.’ There is what to do. There always is.”
“Israel is looking for a fair divorce, not a happy marriage,” Lapid wrote, paraphrasing author Amos Oz.
Lapid added that he analyzed possible scenarios and discussed them with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and concluded that he feels “cautious hope.”
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich (Labor) praised the renewed negotiations.
“These talks are the fruits of America’s effort, but they are first and foremost in our interest,” she said. “An important opportunity is open, and we must finally progress toward attaining an agreement between us and the Palestinians.”
Yacimovich said negotiations are not enough, and Israel must do all it can to reach an agreement.
“I hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu will declare clearly that he supports a two-state solution and will make the necessary decisions to ensure the continued fulfillment of the Zionist dream of a Jewish, democratic state,” she added.
Several other Labor MKs sent congratulatory messages, with faction chairman Isaac Herzog saying Kerry’s push for talks is “an impressive achievement” and that the sides should not give up despite their skepticism.
Meanwhile, MK Eitan Cabel warned that “the fact that we need to send congratulations for an action that is in Israel’s interest attests to Netanyahu’s diplomatic failure.”
Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz praised the renewal of peace talks, saying that Hatnua is in the government for the precise purpose of moving negotiations forward and of supporting Netanyahu as they take place, in order to ensure a better future.
“This is a great opportunity that cannot be missed, and I call for Labor and the peace camp to support it and strengthen it,” Peretz wrote on Facebook.
Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On called Kerry’s announcement an important development, but said that in order for it to be a true opportunity, “the government must understand that negotiations that are not based on ’67 lines and land swaps are not negotiations.”
“If Netanyahu will understand this and truly act to end the occupation, even if it leads to the departure of coalition partners who are against peace, I promise that Meretz will be there to give him a parliamentary back up,” she wrote on Facebook.
Peace Now plans to open a new campaign in the next few days in support of the talks, which it said provided a moment of truth for Israel. A majority of the Knesset and the Israeli public support the talks and they cannot afford to be silent, Peace Now said.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.