Lapid: We can’t absorb 3.5 million Palestinians

Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid took part in the Saban Forum in Washington, during a discussion under the title “How to restore order to the Middle East.”

MK Lapid presented his political plan for the region and called for US policymakers to adopt it. “About two months ago I presented Israelis with a plan to separate from the Palestinians. This is not a pretty separation.”

He continued: “It’s difficult, not aesthetic. It’s goal is limited: To set a regional council, with Western countries and the US at its head, that will start the process towards a regional arrangement that will allow us to remove the Palestinians from our lives.”

According to Lapid, such an arrangement would allow Israel to build trade and diplomatic relationships with the entire Arab world and to make a coalition of moderate countries – along with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf states – “that will together deal with the murderous distortion of Islam that is present in the ideology of Hamas, Hezbollah, and ISIS.

“Such an arrangement will never be perfect, but it is much better than the current situation. Israel cannot and must not try to absorb nearly 3.5 million Palestinians if it wants to remain a Jewish and democratic state.”

He added: “There is nothing romantic in this proposal. In order to one day break the wall between us, we are now forced to build a taller wall. This is not a metaphor. There is so much suspicion and hostility that, at first, we need to be completely separated as much as possible. Them on one side, us on the other.

“What Israeli security requires are strict security arrangements that would allow the IDF to continue acting across the barrier, in order to prevent the creation of a jihadist terror state on our western border. We cannot allow any arrangement that doesn’t allow us to prevent – with our own forces – Hamas or ISIS from taking over the area.”