Lapid Outlines His Diplomatic Vision Ahead of Elections

In a speech at a diplomatic conference, Yair Lapid reiterated his 'centrist' views, differentiating himself from left and right-wing.

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Cynthia Blank,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Flash 90

Despite expectations that Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid would address Wednesday night's announcement that Labor and Hatnua are running on a joint list in March, he was strangely silent on the subject. 

However, in a speech at the Jerusalem Post Diplomatic Conference, where he criticized Prime Minister Binyamin and Netanyahu and presented his plan to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict, Lapid tried to paint himself as an alternative to both right and left. 

He argued that the discussion of security in Israel has revolved around two main errors for too long. 

The first, Lapid believes, is that the Left blames only Israel for the failure of negotiations, in the naive assumption that it is possible to reach a peace agreement easily if you just say "yes" to the Palestinians. 

However, the Right, Lapid claimed, believe any agreement will be worthless and prefer to sit back and do nothing. 

In particular, Lapid stressed that Netanyahu has no political vision or plan for the security situation, which Lapid now knows from sitting in as a member of his security cabinet. 

Lapid then presented his own vision for peace, asserting that Israel must aim for a regional agreement, while also reaching out to moderate Arab regimes. This will provide Egypt and Jordan a role in helping Israel to maintain its security. 

"We should turn to the Arab League to initiate a move that will lead to a regional agreement and separation from the Palestinians," Lapid said.

If Israel does not do so, and without the intervention of the moderate Arab world, Lapid suggested, the Palestinians will never dare to come to an agreement. 

Lapid noted that such a peace agreement "won't be easy, it won't be immediate," because "Israel has been damaged before" by peace deals, but that a separation from the Palestinians is the only way to ensure Israel's future security and its prosperity. 

Lapid reiterated that the plan may not exactly mean full peace - at least for the first few years - but it will be a strong agreement leading to a clear separation of two peoples who cannot live in the same country. 

"Of course it would be nice if both parties could trust each other, but after one hundred years of conflict...let us live ten years apart in full security, and then we can talk about trust," he concluded.  

Lapid called on Israel to interact with heads of state at the next Arab League meeting in Egypt, at the end of March. "This is an opportunity we cannot miss," added Lapid.