Lapid says ‘Israelis want peace and security and Palestinians want peace and justice’

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Jodi Rudoren reports for the New York Times from Tel Aviv on the rising/falling Israeli political star Yair Lapid, now the Finance Minister under Netanyahu. Shorter version: Nothing is going to change. He trashes Abbas, who is actually a conservative inside Palestinian life, as some kind of insurgent; he hasn’t had a word with John Kerry, the savior of the two-state-solution, since March. He hasn’t spoken with Palestinians since taking office. Lapid’s summary of the difference between the two populations, Israelis want security, Palestinians want justice, has a profound truth to it but contains its contradiction: Israelis are insecure because of an injustice; they will never find security without justice. Rudoren:

While he described the two-state solution as “crucial” to preserving Israel as a Jewish nation, he offered no hints of Israeli concessions that could break the stalemate in the peace process. Instead, he repeatedly said he hoped that Secretary of State John Kerry, who is scheduled to arrive here this week for his fourth visit in two months, would “jump-start” it.

And he expressed extreme skepticism about the likelihood of reaching a deal with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, saying, “He’s one of the founding fathers of the victimizing concept of the Palestinians.”

He also questioned whether Palestinians truly wanted a state.

“Israelis want peace and security and Palestinians want peace and justice — these are two very different things, and this is the real gap we have to close,” he said. “More and more people are saying to themselves and to others, this is not going to happen, all we have to do is some maintenance and we’ll see. Some people think ‘we’ll see’ is ‘God will help us,’ which is not a very tangible idea to me. Others say, ‘Some problems are not to be solved,’ which is a very sad idea.

“I am saying what we need to do is something.”

Yet while Mr. Lapid vowed “to be proactive about this and do everything in my power to contribute to the discourse,” he said he has not spoken with Mr. Kerry since sitting with him at a state dinner during President Obama’s visit to Jerusalem in March. Nor has he met with any Palestinians since taking office.

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