[Dr. Aaron Lerner – IMRA:
On the one hand, Minister Yair Lapid’s remarks against a settlement freeze
and the division of Jerusalem should serve to dash hopes among those who saw
him as the point man for pushing through such policies.
On the other hand, Mr. Lapid takes the profoundly dangerous position
supporting the immediate creation of an interim Palestinian state. If the
idea is to propose something with 100% certainty the other side will reject
it then at least there is a logic to it. But if that is not the case,
providing for the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state anywhere in
our bedroom is incredibly dangerous.]
By JODI RUDOREN The New York Times Published: May 19, 2013
“I’m going to be bashed now, and be the beneficiary of this within, I don’t
know, a year or a year and a half,” Mr. Lapid, 49, said in his first
interview with an international news organization since his unexpected vault
into global headlines. He still hopes to succeed Mr. Netanyahu, but said, “I’m in no hurry.”
Asked about the transition to politics, he called it “painful,” joking, “I
used to have so many opinions before I learned the facts.”
In an hourlong conversation, Mr. Lapid offered no criticism of Mr.
Netanyahu. He said he talks or exchanges text messages almost daily with Naftali Bennett, the leader of the nationalist Jewish Home Party, with whom he formed an alliance to block the ultra-Orthodox from joining Israel’s governing coalition. He declined to discuss security issues like Iran.
An avowed centrist, Mr. Lapid nevertheless took a hard line on policy toward the Palestinians, the issue that has defined Israeli politics for decades but that was overshadowed by domestic concerns in the recent campaign. He said that Israel should not change its policy on Israeli settlements in the West Bank in order to revive the stalemated peace process, and that Jerusalem should not serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state – an essential part of Palestinian plans.
Mr. Lapid acknowledged that tens of thousands of Jews would someday be uprooted from what he described as “remote settlements” in the West Bank, something he called “heartbreaking.” But he said that problem should be set aside for now, advocating the immediate creation of an interim Palestinian state in parts of the West Bank where no Jews live, with final borders drawn in perhaps three, four or five years. Palestinian leaders have roundly rejected temporary borders.
While he described the two-state solution as “crucial” to preserving Israel
as a Jewish nation, he offered no hints of Israeli concessions that could
break the stalemate in the peace process. Instead, he repeatedly said he
hoped that Secretary of State John Kerry, who is scheduled to arrive here
next week for his fourth visit in two months, would “jump-start” it.