Why I Voted in Favor of Suspending Peace Negotiations with the Palestinians

(TIME) Yair Lapid - On Thursday, after an unusually long meeting of the Israeli government's security cabinet, it was decided to suspend peace talks until it becomes clear whether or not the new Palestinian unity government with Hamas is formed. The decision, to which I was party, passed unanimously. Why? Because Hamas is a not the legitimate representative of the Palestinians, but rather a Jihadist terror organization whose express purpose is to kill and maim Jews simply because they're Jews. I cannot understand how anyone could expect us to negotiate with a government, half of which claims to want to reach an agreement with us while the other half claims it is not bound by that same agreement. One half claims to want peace and the other half - simultaneously - shoots thousands of rockets and mortar shells on innocent civilians and rules over Gaza in a reign of Islamic terror. One half speaks English and tells the world what it wants to hear, and the other half is an Islamist organization that denies the very existence of the Holocaust, was outlawed in the U.S. and in most European countries and has claimed, in an official statement of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (the new partner of Mahmoud Abbas): "Osama bin Laden was a Muslim freedom fighter." We did not call for the cessation of the talks, but rather for their suspension. We have not closed the door. When the new government is formed, we can decide - in consultation with the U.S. - where to go from here. But before we continue talks, we must know something very basic: With whom exactly are we talking? The writer is Israel's Minister of Finance.

2014-04-28 00:00:00

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