Lapid: West Bank land grab hurts Israel in international arena

Finance Minister Yair Lapid. Photo by Ofer Vaknin

Finance Minister Yair Lapid said at a conference in Tel Aviv that the recently announced Israeli appropriation of West Bank land was a move of underhanded opportunism that wasn’t submitted for the cabinet’s approval and is damaging to Israel in the international arena.

“We need diplomatic conduct that is more balanced,” Lapid said, “not to create unnecessary disputes with the United States and the world.” He added that while he supports and will continue to support the Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank, “part of a balanced conduct is the question of when and how you do things.”

“We are after a military operation, facing a sensitive international front, and it was difficult for us to maintain the world’s support as it is,” he said. “What was so urgent right now to create another crisis with the Americans and the world?”

On Sunday, Israel announced the appropriation of land in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem, a move which an anti-settlement group said was the biggest such claim in 30 years.

The U.S deemed the move “counterproductive” and urged the Israeli government to reverse the decision. The U.K., France and Egypt also condemned the decision.



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