Lapid: We'll give up isolated settlements

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid says he's willing to sacrifice 'isolated settlements' in exchange for Jerusalem, settlement blocs.

Nitzan Keidar ,

Yair Lapid
Yair Lapid
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid told the political correspondents' pool Monday that he prefers Israel not sign a peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority (PA) if such a treaty included dividing Jerusalem.

"I will not negotiate Jerusalem," he said. "It's better not to have an agreement at all than to have an agreement which divides Jerusalem."

However, Lapid added that any "good treaty" with the PA would entail some compromise.

"An agreement will force us to make painful compromises," Lapid admitted. "In order to preserve the settlement blocs and a united Jerusalem, we will have to give up the isolated settlements."

Lapid also slammed Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, claiming that Israel's situation was not improving.

"There's no diplomatic renaissance here," he said. "We're losing power in Europe, with American Jews and with international bodies. There is a huge and unprecedented split with the Democratic party."

He also claimed the European Union takes issue with Netanyahu personally, and this influences the EU's stance towards Israel.

Regarding Israel's relationship with Russia, Lapid said Russia's connection with Turkey and Iran directly harms Israel.

Speaking about the Recommendations Law, which seeks to prohibit police from making recommendations for or against prosecution at the end of an investigation, Lapid said vehemently that he would vote against it.

Lapid described the recent UN vote not to recognize US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital as a "defeat," although UN Ambassador Danon said that the 65 countries who did not support the Arab resolution marked a clear change in Israel's favor. According to Lapid, Netanyahu needs to appoint a full-time Foreign Minister, emphasizing that this is what he himself would do were he to be Prime Minister.

Netanyahu currently serves as Israel's Foreign Minister in addition to his post as Prime Minister.

In December 2016, Lapid said he is "the only alternative to Netanyahu," claiming "no one can compete with Netanyahu" except himself.

In January, a poll showed Lapid's party as gaining 27 seats while Netanyahu's Likud won only 23. However, a more recent poll showed the Likud would receive 24 seats while Yesh Atid would receive 22.