Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) on Friday criticized Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's new conditions to continue peace talks, including the release of 1,200 terrorists, among them arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti, recognition of a PA capital in eastern Jerusalem, and others.
Lapid acknowledged that renewed peace talks with the PA was one of his party's conditions to join the coalition government, "but in order to have peace talks, the other side also has to want them."
"Abbas's behavior in recent days raises serious doubts as to whether he really is interested in reaching an agreement," added Lapid, saying the conditions appear intended to torpedo the talks.
When Abbas released the new demands, "the only Israelis who rejoiced were those in the extreme right, who prefer to wait for the Messiah instead of trying to reach a solution," claimed Lapid.
Lapid pledged that his party will continue trying to reach a two state solution with the PA, "but Abbas needs to know that at the current point in time, his requests are working against him. No Israeli will negotiate with him at any cost."
Peace talks appear to have reached a dead-end this week, after Abbas breached conditions by unilaterally applying to 15 UN agencies on Tuesday. In response, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Thursday announced Israel had cancelled the last terrorist release "gesture" which had been put on hold this Saturday, due to the lack of progress in the talks and popular opposition to the move.
Given the latest developments, senior White House sources close to US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that Kerry may give up on his efforts for the peace talks in the very near future, saying he has to "own up to the failure" or risk "looking desperate."
Lapid warned in February of "economic doom" without a peace deal, not long after brushing aside security concerns over the peace plans by saying "we’re tired of the right’s unfounded prophecies of doom."