Watch: Finance Minister Yair Lapid addresses Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference
Lapid presents his party's view on the path to peace with the Palestinians in speech before hundreds of diplomats.
By LAHAV HARKOVPublished: OCTOBER 25, 2013 17:16Advertisement
The conflict with the Palestinians is about distrust more than anything else, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said at The Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference on Thursday.The Yesh Atid chairman presented his party’s view on the path to peace to the hundreds of diplomats gathered in Herzliya’s Daniel Hotel.“This conflict is portrayed as a David and Goliath story, Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf, Lady Gaga and Madonna,” Lapid quipped.“European anarchists and ‘useful idiots’ have led the claim that Israel is strong, so it must be wrong.”Lapid also criticized those who say the Palestinian-Israeli conflict must be solved because it’s a human rights issue.“I ask human rights activists, how are you so silent about the treatment of gay people in Gaza? They mumble and try to change the subject, because it doesn’t fit their story,” he said.“One place is democratic and gives equality to gays and women and minorities, and the other kills Christians for being Christians and Jews for being Jews, but they’re still considered the good guys. People don’t want to deviate from the narrative, but if you want to talk about human rights, you have to talk about the whole package,” Lapid emphasized.The Yesh Atid leader said that the peace process is not a logical puzzle, otherwise some of the great minds who have worked on it would have been able to solve it already. He also denied that the conflict is about borders, maps, Jerusalem, land swaps or anything technical, nor is it about Palestinian terrorism or Israeli settlements.“The problem is fear, mistrust, traumas, memories,” Lapid said, presenting his central thesis. “How can people who don’t believe each other and hate and fear each other, sign an agreement and talk about coexistence?“The problem is that this isn’t a dialogue but two monologues. Israelis want peace and security; Palestinians want peace and justice. It sounds similar, but those are different sets of emotions, and we don’t talk about it, because we don’t know how to quantify it,” he explained.“We need psychologists and psychiatrists, not generals,” Lapid said.Lapid also objected to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s demand that Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state.“For 2,000 years, we needed recognition from others, and we’re fed up with it. We’ll give ourselves all the recognition we’ll ever need,” he said.The real problem, however, is that the demand undermines trust, because it is an insistence that the Palestinians lie, according to Lapid.The finance minister also said a map with final borders is necessary, and that map must include security arrangements for Israel and will lead to the evacuation of tens of thousands of settlers from the West Bank.Lapid said that he does not trust the Palestinians, but that he hopes he will over time.“We need to fight emotions with emotions. Where there is fear, let’s hope. Let the healing begin,” he said.Lapid was introduced by Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Steve Linde as a future leader of Israel. After the address, a diplomat praised Lapid’s impressive speech as being worthy of “a future prime minister of Israel.”
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