As Peace Talks Falter, Lapid Prepares 'Alibi'

Finance minister, who conditioned his joining coalition on the resumption of peace talks, blames Palestinians for 'intentionally' derailing process.

ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid
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Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Jerusalem, December 6, 2013
Secretary of State John Kerry's meeting with Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Jerusalem, December 6, 2013Credit: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv Press Section
ברק רביד - צרובה
Barak Ravid

Finance Minister and Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid has started preparing an "alibi" for staying in the coalition despite the imminent collapse of the peace process.

"Resuming negotiations with the Palestinians was one of Yesh Atid's conditions for joining the cabinet," Lapid said in a statement. "But to hold negotiations the other side must be interested, as well. Abbas' conduct in the last day raises serious doubts as to his willingness to reach an agreement."

Like Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who has also shown no signs of intending to step out of the coalition, Lapid focuses on laying the blame for the crisis on the Palestinians. He claimed that the list of demands released by the Palestinians on Thursday (that they have since denied) "looks like an intentional dare meant to derail the talks."

According to him, "The only Israelis who were happy (with the crisis, B.R.) are rightist extremists, who prefer to wait for the Messiah instead of trying to reach a solution."

The finance minister noted that his party will continue to support disengagement from the Palestinians. "Abbas should know that in this point in time, his demands are acting against him," Lapid said. "No Israeli will negotiate with him for any price."

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