Lapid calls for regional peace; Egypt and Jordan urge renewal of talks

Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid yesterday said that Israel should pursue a regional peace settlement as a way to reach an agreement with the Palestinians.

Speaking at a Jerusalem Post conference, Lapid criticised Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inaction, saying that he had observed from up close Netanyahu’s lack of any diplomatic plan. Positioning himself in the centre, Lapid was also critical of the left, which he said naively assumes peace can be achieved through a simple “yes” to the Palestinians.

Lapid set out an alternative suggestion yesterday, saying that “We should turn to the Arab League to initiate a move that will lead to a regional agreement and separation from the Palestinians,” with the United States in a position to organise a regional conference. Lapid plotted out a gradual path to peace, saying “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.”

Meanwhile, the leaders of Jordan and Egypt issued a joint call yesterday for Israel and the Palestinians to resume peace talks. Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi was visiting Jordan’s King Abdullah in Amman for the first time in office. According to Israel Radio news, a joint statement said that new life must be breathed into the negotiations and they called on both sides to remove the barriers to renewing talks in order to further the two-state solution according to the Arab peace initiative.

On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is set to meet US Secretary of State John Kerry in Rome. They are expected to discuss various upcoming United Nations’ resolutions pushing for a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A Palestinian-backed Jordanian draft motion calls for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank within two years. Meanwhile, an alternative counterweight resolution being drafted by UK, France and Germany reportedly mandates the agreement of a peace accord within two years.

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