Finance Minister and Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid spoke Sunday at a party conference showcasing Yesh Atid's successes over the last year and commented on the hiatus in peace process.
"In a few weeks we will know which government (Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas) plans to set up, and then we will decide how to restart the process," Lapid said, referencing the soon to be formed Palestinian unity government, which is expected to be made of technocrats handpicked by Abbas. His comments seem to indicate his belief that talks could resume.
Prime Minister Netanyahu froze US-brokered peace talks after Abbas's PLO signed an April 23 reconciliation deal with Hamas, who rule the Gaza Strip and advocate Israel's destruction. In the past, Lapid claimed they would quit the government should the peace process be neglected.
However, Lapid seemed to indicate that he had no intention of doing so now: "Only unserious people can say that a three week delay in regards to a conflict which has been going on for 150 years is reason for hysteria and a the dissolution of the government, and with the chance to separate from the Palestinians," Lapid said.
"In such a negotiation process there are countless crises and moments which walk the precipice of collapse, but we must remain cool and continue to work. We know how to withstand pressure, and like we didn't cave in on other issues, we will not cave in until we are separated from the Palestinians. We on this side, and them on the others," he said in refrence to the two-state solution his party advocates.
Praising his party's achievements, Lapid claimed that despite inheriting a difficult reality, Yesh Atid party had managed to push through a number of meaningful bills, most recently a bill which attempts to address the housing crisis by offering young couples and former soldiers 0% VAT on the purchase of their first home.
"Every morning we wake up and go work for the middle class. Equal the share of the military burden, passed; a change in the governance system, passed; a billion shekel for Holocaust survivors, passed," Lapid said, referencing the passage into law of two controversial bills: The first which enforces universal enlistment to IDF on ultra-Orthodox youths, and the second which raises the election threshold.
Lapid further promised that his party would promote a bill to ensure civil marriage in Israel, a bill said to include some form of same-sex marriage equality, and vowed to continue to work to lower cost of living prices.