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FIRST LOOK

Lapid on Jerusalem and the Palestinians

Yesh Atid perceives a possible peace process as a response to an ensemble of threats looming over the State of Israel.
Yair Lapid, chairman of the Yesh Atid party, seen leaving his home on election day, January 22, 2013.

Polls show a sharp drop in the popularity of Yair Lapid.
Photo Credit: Avishag Shaar Yashuv/Flash 90

The big surprise of Israel’s elections was the rise of Yair Lapid’s “Yesh Atid” (There is a Future) party, which is projected to have received 18-19 seats in the upcoming 19th Knesset. The second biggest party after the Likud, it is presumed that Lapid will join Netanyahu’s next government as a senior partner.

“Yesh Atid” will be influential in setting all aspects of government policy, including the resumption of the peace process and the attempts to come to an agreement with the Palestinians.

What are Lapid’s principles regarding the peace process?

The party’s platform, formulated by Ofer Shelach, a former journalist and number 6 on the party’s Knesset list, states that Israel will strive to return to the negotiations table with the Palestinians with the principle of “two states for two nations” serving as the basis of the process.

Yesh Atid perceives a possible peace process as a response to an ensemble of threats looming over the State of Israel and the only way to effectively minimize these threats in the long term.

What will be the fate of the communities of Judea and Samaria? Yair Lapid chose to launch his campaign in Ariel, which can be telling about his future intentions regarding Judea and Samaria. Yesh Atid’s platform states that within the framework of the negotiations, the large settlement blocks—Ariel, Maale Adumim and Gush Etzion—will remain within the agreed upon boundaries of the State of Israel. During peace negations no new communities will be established, but until the signing of an agreement the natural growth of the existing communities will be taken into consideration.

The Yesh Atid platform further states that Israel’s future borders will be decided on the basis of Israel’s security needs, as well as the reality created since 1967: “Both sides will acknowledge that it is in their mutual interest that the settlement blocks remain in Israel’s hands.” A swap of land is an option, according to Yesh Atid. However, Lapid has stated several times throughout his campaign that the communities in Judea and Samaria constitute a financial burden on Israel’s economy, and that he intends to change that.

The Palestinian refugees’ issue will be settled within the boundaries of a future Palestinian state.

The platform also focused on the rabid antisemitic incitement within the Palestinian educational system, stating its complete end as a part of any future agreement.

As for Jerusalem, the platform clearly states: “Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital and its unity is a national symbol of the first degree. Jerusalem will remain united under Israeli sovereignty, for Jerusalem is not merely a location or a city, but the center of the Jewish-Israeli ethos and the holy place that the Jews have yearned for throughout the ages.”

Lapid has made several such public statements. A few days ago, he stated that there is no point in negotiating for Jerusalem, “we have no existence without Jerusalem.” He intends to grant Israeli citizenship to the Arabs of east Jerusalem.

Many questions are left open, and on many of the points Yesh Atid’s platform is ambiguous. In the coming month we’ll find out how Lapid’s new, 19-member party will affect Israel’s future.

About the Author: Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.


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7 Responses to “Lapid on Jerusalem and the Palestinians”

  1. Chaiya Eitan says:

    Don't have to worry about this; the 'pals' would never even accept this.

  2. Tzvi Fishman says:

    The towel on his shoulder is a sure sign that he's on the way to a morning mikvah. Let's hope for the best!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Halavai. More likely — the gym.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Arabs of East Jerusalem already have citizenship if they want it. The area was annexed in 1980. Much like the Druze of the Golan Heights, they have chosen to reject citizenship or they have accepted it and vote for the UAL. With regard to the "major blocs", what is his position on the strategic Jordan Valley- the most likely Arab invasion route and the only weapons smuggling route into the West Bank? What about the communities like Elon Moreh, Shilo, and Itamar which overlook this important valley from hilltops? Are Kiryat Arba and Bet El considered "small, easily evacuated communities?" They seem pretty large to me. Also, why should a future Palestine in the West Bank be 100% Jew-free while the PA expects Israel to be at least 20% Arab not including the 7 million "refugees" they want to settle in pre-67 Israel? Why can't Israel "give" the Arabs in the so-called "Arab Triangle" back to the PA in a land swap? If the settlements are such a drain on resources, what about the industrial parks, wineries, and agricultural communities therein? Is he aware that Gush Katif provided Israel with 15% of its agricultural output before the expulsion? Was it a net drain on state resources? Don't settlers pay more in taxes than most of the Israeli Arab population and the Haredi? Aren't they just as subject to the income tax and VAT? Don't settlers serve in greater numbers than the Haredi or the Arabs and in greater proportion than the secular sector? So many questions for Lapid… and frankly for Likud as well!

  5. Liad Bar-el says:

    Yes, and Lapid tucks his tzitzit inside like the sephardim. :-)

  6. Liad Bar-el says:

    Looks like we have another Mohammed trying to take over the world by free land give-aways.

  7. Yehuda Cohen says:

    Time will tell when we see if Lapid will follow in his father's foot steps of compromising Israel leading to its destruction.

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