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Lapid: Negotiations with Hamas Could Be Possible in the Future

Yesh Atid chairman apparently backtracks on strong stance against negotiating with terror group, insists that Hamas could change.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/3/2014, 9:33 PM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash90

Finance Minister and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid made media headlines Saturday night, after he insisted in an interview with an American newspaper that Israel could - conceivably - hold negotiations with a Hamas-led government. 

"It's not like it didn't happen before," Lapid stated, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "The PLO [terrorist organization behind Fatah, ruling party in the Palestinian Authority - ed.] used to be a terror organization."

He added, however, that the possibility remains tabled - for now. 

"We will not discuss with Hamas as long as they do not accept the Quartet's conditions, cessation of terror, recognition of Israel and acceptance of previous agreements," Lapid said. "Until then, Hamas is a terrorist organization and we cannot negotiate with it." 

Flip-Flopping?

Lapid's statement strongly contradicts his own words just two weeks ago, when peace talks were officially suspended with the PA after PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas approached Hamas with plans for a unity government.

At the time, Lapid wrote a strongly worded editorial piece for TIME magazine defending his decision - and citing Hamas as the prime reason to vote against continuing talks. 

"Hamas is a not the legitimate representative of the Palestinians, but rather a Jihadist terror organization whose express purpose is to kill and maim Jews simply because they’re Jews," Lapid wrote

Lapid's commitment to rejecting Hamas as a peace partner was apparently unchanged last week, as MK Dov Lipman (Yesh Atid) stated in a special Arutz Sheva interview that the PLO's decision to forge a pact with Hamas was a "red line" and that Yesh Atid viewed the push to continue talks despite the pact as "totally unacceptable."