Minister Lapid: No Building Freeze in Judea, Samaria
In an interview published Monday in the New York Times, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that that Israel should not change its policy on Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in order to revive the stalemated peace process, and that Jerusalem should not serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
Lapid said he would not stop the so-called “natural expansion” of the Jewish communities, nor curtail the financial incentives offered to Israelis to move there. He said that eastern Jerusalem, liberated by Israel in the Six Day War, must stay Israeli, because “we didn’t come here for nothing.”
Lapid said that tens of thousands of Jews would someday be uprooted from what he described as “remote settlements," but that this problem should be set aside for now. According to the NYT, he advocated 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.
"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," NYT reporters wrote in their summary of the interview. "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."