Israel will not make unilateral withdrawals from the West Bank, particularly if Hamas continues to hold sway, officials from the Prime Minister’s Office said Sunday. The officials were responding to Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s new peace plan that called for evacuation of parts of the area.
Officials also dismissed the finance minister’s demand that the Israeli government produce maps outlining future borders, saying “Any map that is presented will become the point of departure for the Palestinians’ demands.”
“Anyone with political experience knows that you don’t make concessions without [getting] anything in return, especially with a government partnered with a terror organization that wants to destroy Israel,” officials said. The sources also referred to the 2005 disengagement from Gaza as proof of the futility of these measures.
“We saw in Gaza the results of unilateral withdrawal,” they said.
“The prime minister will continue to lead the State of Israel responsibly, while preserving the national interests of the citizens of Israel, starting with its security.”
In a far-reaching speech at the Herzliya conference, an annual national security gathering, Lapid issued an appeal to return to negotiations with the Palestinians — despite the new Fatah-Hamas unity government — and outlined a new framework for peace that would draw borders and progress in three separate stages of Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank.
The finance minister also threatened to topple the government if right-wing calls to unilaterally annex areas of the West Bank are implemented.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog appealed to Lapid to act on his threats and establish a coalition with the Labor party. “Go, get out of the government, it’s not too late,” he said, following Lapid’s speech. “Join us, and I promise you I will bring the other partners.”
Housing Minister Uri Ariel of the Jewish Home party responded derisively to the finance minister’s threats, saying, “Israeli governments existed in the past without the Yesh Atid party, and will continue to exist without it.”