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Centrist Minister Worried by Hamas-Fatah Deal

Finance Minister Lapid asks if Palestinian Arabs really want a state alongside Israel.
By Hezki Ezra, Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/23/2014, 9:20 PM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), who is generally protrayed as a centrist-secularist, is worried about the deal between Fatah and Hamas.

Speaking at the EJC conference Wednesday evening, Lapid said that he is troubled by the question – do the Palestinians really want a state?

"If the answer to this question is yes,” he went on, “they can have a state in six months' time.” He explained that his party favors giving the Palestinian Arabs “90% of Judea and Samaria, Gaza, recognition in the UN, freedom.”

Instead of agreeing to these terms, said Lapid, they have now reached an accord with Hamas. “Hamas is not a government,” it is a jihadi terror organization with a stated goal of killing civilians – women, children, old people – only because they are Jews.”

"How do you want to reach an agreement with us,” he asked, “when you have just signed an agreement with the people who swore to kill us? How do you want to establish a state alongside us, with these people? What kind of state do you want to establish? Or maybe they do not really want to?”

Lapid added that he opposes the Jewish settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria, but that trying to blame the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict on them is “ahistorical nonsense,” since the conflict existed “decades before anyone knew what a settlement was.”

The choice facing the Palestinian Authority (PA) has become clearer than ever after the deal with Hamas, he summed up. “Beside us, or in place of us. If they want to establish a state next to us, welcome. If they want to establish a state instead of us, they should know – it will never happen.”