Shelah defies Yesh Atid platform: Jerusalem will be Palestinian capital

Yesh Atid faction leader's comments defy not only party platform, but also Lapid's explicit statements during election campaign.

Ofer Shelach 370 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Ofer Shelach 370
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Yesh Atid’s leadership sent mixed messages about its platform on Jerusalem, after faction leader Ofer Shelah said the city is likely to be capital of a Palestinian state, while Finance Minister Yair Lapid stated the opposite when campaigning ahead of this year’s election.
The Yesh Atid platform says “Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Israel and its unity is a national symbol of the utmost importance.
Jerusalem will stay united and under Israeli sovereignty.
Jerusalem is not just a place or a city, but the center of the Jewish-Israeli ethos and the holy place on which Jewish people set their sights in every generation.”
Speaking at a Peace Now conference in Tel Aviv Monday night, Shelah sang a decidedly different tune: “I don’t see a possible agreement with the Palestinians in which they will not be able to call east Jerusalem their capital, just like I don’t see a possible agreement that isn’t based on ‘67 borders.
“The solution in Jerusalem will be very complex. It will be one of words and of actions,” Shelah added. “We cannot just build a wall and say ‘this is ours and this is yours.’” Shelah, a former television and print journalist, never hid his opinions, which put him at the far left in the spectrum of opinions within Yesh Atid.
Last week, he wrote on Facebook “the occupation must end not because of the world’s demands, but for the good of our worthy existence here and due to the rising price we have to pay for it every day.”
Still, the Yesh Atid faction leader’s opinions defy not only the party platform but its leader’s explicit statements during the party’s election campaign. During an event in the major settlement Ariel last October, in which Lapid presented his diplomatic position, he promised not to divide the capital.
“The Palestinians will have to understand that we have iron principles that we will not break,” Lapid stated. “The return to Zion wasn’t to the Azrieli Towers, it was to the Tower of David. The heart of Jerusalem is also the heart of the State of Israel.”