Another Israeli Minister Downplays Kerry's Peace Efforts

Thursday, January 16, 2014 |  Ryan Jones

Just days after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon caused a diplomatic firestorm by criticizing US Secretary of State John Kerry's "obsessive" and ill-informed Middle East peace efforts, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid seemed to concur that the American might not know what he's doing.

In remarks far more restrained and subtle than Ya'alon's rant in the presence of American officials, Lapid stated in a message to his Yesh Atid party colleagues that the peace process is about separating from the Palestinians, not forging a fantasy-like utopian future.

"Those who are waiting for a defining moment, where the sky will light up in fireworks and people will break into dance at the announcement of peace, simply do not understand how negotiations work in the Middle East," noted Lapid, in what many saw as poke at the constant proclamations from Washington that a historic breakthrough is on the horizon.

Lapid said the problem - which the Americans don't seem to grasp - is that "time after time the Palestinians have proven they are unworthy of our trust."

For Lapid and others in his centrist faction, that also means that Israel must do everything possible to avoid having to absorb four million "un-trustworthy" Palestinians, even give up control of the ancient Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria.

"The time has come to part ways with the Palestinians," Lapid concluded. "Our objective is to reach an agreement that allows us to separate from the Palestinians with maximum efficiency while strictly guarding Israel’s security interests."

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