Finance Minister Yair Lapid, head of the Yesh Atid party, said on Sunday that he is determined to work towards reaching a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Speaking at a convention of the Yesh Atid party in Tel Aviv, Lapid said he would not give up hope on the possibility of peace, even after Israel pulled out of the talks in response to the Hamas-Fatah unity agreement.
“We have to get the diplomatic process back on track, and we will not relent on this issue,” he declared.
"In a few weeks we will know what kind of government [PA Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas will put together and then we will decide how to re-start the process...Just as we have not easily given up on any other issue, we will not give up until we are separated from the Palestinians,” stressed Lapid.
Several weeks ago, after Israel pulled out of the talks in the wake of Abbas’s pact with Hamas, Lapid wrote a strongly worded editorial for TIME magazine defending the 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 in that editorial.
Later, however, he appeared to have changed his mind, when he insisted in an interview with an American newspaper that Israel could - conceivably - hold negotiations with a Hamas-led government.
Abbas has stated that Hamas will not be part of a transitional government that is to be built soon.
The announcement reiterates the growing cognitive and political dissonance between the two organizations. Hamas continues to be adamant over its full control of a "unity" government, expressing over and over again that it would remain in control of both Gaza and the PA after elections and insisting that Ismail Haniyeh would rule the government.