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Struk Dismisses Lapid's Call for Diplomatic Move After Ceasefire

MK Orit Struk says she "didn't know whether to laugh or cry" at Finance Minister's call to restart peace talks.
By Haim Lev
First Publish: 8/29/2014, 5:43 AM

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

MK Orit Struk (Jewish Home) had some criticism for Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) on Thursday, after he said that peace talks with the Palestinian Authority must be restarted.

Lapid had said that Israel would strive to convene a regional conference that will bring about the demilitarization of Gaza in exchange for its rehabilitation after the recent fighting.

"Operation Protective Edge cannot end with just a ceasefire," Lapid stressed, adding, “With the end of the hostilities we must begin the second part of the operation - the diplomatic side.”

In response, Struk said, “I did not know whether to laugh or cry when I heard Lapid’s remarks. On the one hand he demands the demilitarization of Gaza and on the other hand he demands that Judea and Samaria be transferred to [Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud] Abbas.”

She continued, "Maybe he was not in the country in 2005, when we handed over Gaza to our partner in Ramallah? Or maybe he was on vacation two weeks ago when Mahmoud Abbas was saved from a Hamas coup thanks to the IDF and the Shin Bet?”

"Yair Lapid, stop for a moment and count to 10 or you will find yourself counting 15 seconds on your way to a bomb shelter,” concluded Struk.

Lapid is one of several politicians who have called for the ceasefire that was reached in Gaza to turn into a diplomatic process.

Opposition leader and head of the Labor party, MK Yitzhak Herzog, said on Wednesday that there is no military solution to the situation in Gaza and added that the ceasefire must ultimately lead to a diplomatic move.

"The ceasefire that was reached yesterday must be just another step on the way to a comprehensive regional agreement, or it will not be long before we find ourselves in another round of terror,” he warned.

Herzog called for an agreement that will include the "moderate axis” in the region including Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas, backed by the moderate Gulf states and sponsored by the international community.

The European Union (EU) welcomed the long-term ceasefire between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza and, like Herzog, called for more talks to bring a "comprehensive and sustainable agreement."

"Simply returning to the situation before the latest conflict is not an option," said a statement from the bloc's diplomatic arm, the European External Action Service (EEAS).

"A sustainable agreement should address all the root causes of the conflict and bring fundamental change to the situation in Gaza," the statement added.

Similar remarks were made Tuesday by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who voiced hope that the ceasefire will set the stage for talks on a final Israeli-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace deal.