Yair Lapid Says He Opposes Occupation, but Will Present Platform in West Bank Settlement

Yesh Atid chairman announces he will present his foreign policy in Ariel because 'there exists no map in which Ariel isn't a part of the State of Israel.'

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Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid hinted at some of his positions regarding Israel's relations with the Palestinians in an event in northern Israel on Saturday morning.

Lapid, who has largely avoided discussing his position on the highly polarizing issue of a possible agreement with the Palestinians, seemed to indicate that he favors an Israeli withdrawl from the West Bank, though not entirely.

Israel "must at last get rid of the Palestinians and put a fence between us," he said, adding that "there will be no 'new Middle East,' but at least there won't be three million Palestinians in Israeli territory."

Lapid said that he had decided to present his foreign policy platform to voters at the Ariel University Center, located in the West Bank settlement Ariel, because "there is no map on which Ariel isn't a part of the state of Israel."

Lapid said Israel should return to the negotiating table with the Palestinians. "Every sane person knows how it will end up: The Palestinians will get a country and the settlement blocks will remain a part of Israel," he said.

"We don't know how long it will take, nor how many will die. I am no lefty but I do think that the Palestinians brought it upon themselves. Instead of building hospitals they opted to construct training grounds for firing rockets and mortars," he continued.

Lapid said he had no intention of joining forces with former Kadima chairwoman and opposition leader Tzipi Livni ahead of upcoming elections. When asked about the prospect of forming a single centrist political bloc, Lapid responded that Yesh Atid was the only centrist party.

Lapid was also asked if he thought that former IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi would make a good addition to a centrist party. Lapid answered that "Ashkenazi is a very fitting candidate, but cannot be elected because of the heavy-handed laws restricting former officers from running in elections for a substantial time."

Asked about his thoughts concerning former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert running for office in the elections, he refused to answer, saying "There is one person in Israel I ask not to talk about and that is Olmert," he said. "It's a family matter," he explained.

Lapid told his audience that his party had already recruited over 14,000 new members.

Yair Lapid, running for Knesset with his new party 'Yesh Atid' (There is a future).Credit: Alon Ron

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