Yair Lapid: administrator of Biden. link Arab-Israeli normalization to the Palestinians
However, two days after meeting US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Rome, Lapid said Washington “says that [normalizations] force us to make an effort with the Palestinians ”, unlike the Trump administration, which“ gave the feeling that [the Abraham Accords] were instead of progress on the Palestinian front, or a way to prove it was unnecessary.
Lapid was skeptical of the chances of a deal with the Palestinians.
“The Palestinians have to want to progress themselves so that someone can help them, and this is not the current situation in the PA or Hamas,” he said.
“Don’t fire 4,000 rockets at Israelis if you want help,” Lapid said of the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.
The subject of the Palestinians was raised during his meetings with Blinken and with Ben Zayed, he said.
The Emiratis want to have a positive impact on the Palestinian issue, Lapid said, adding that he is sure they will be helpful if there is a possibility of progress.
Lapid said his meeting with bin Zayed mainly revolved around regional issues and the U.S. involvement in the Middle East, as well as expanding the Abrahamic Accords to other countries.
He expressed hope that more Arab countries will follow the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco in establishing relations with Israel, but naming them would hurt the chances of that happening.
“There are other countries we are talking with under the radar,” Lapid said. “The goal is to have relationships with as many people as possible.”
Israel must work to develop its relations with Sudan, he said. These links have stalled since they were announced last year.
Lapid declined to answer questions about Iran while in the United Arab Emirates, which sees the Islamic Republic as an adversary but is less vocal than Israel on the matter.
He also praised “the unusually large stack of economic deals [between Israel and the UAE] is happening quickly that will influence the lives of all Israelis ”and help Israel’s economy in difficult times.
Lapid and ben Zayed signed an economic cooperation agreement after their meeting.
Earlier on Tuesday, during the dedication ceremony of the Israeli embassy in the United Arab Emirates, Lapid said: “Israel wants peace with all of its neighbors. We’re not going anywhere. The Middle East is our home, and we are here to stay, so we call on all countries in the region to recognize it and speak to us.