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Lapid's strategy of empty threats benefits Netanyahu

The declaration by Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid that annexation of any area of the West Bank would result in the dismantling of the government raises the bar in a way that actually ensures the survival of the Netanyahu coalition.
Israel's Financial Minister Yair Lapid adresses the conference of "Jewish life and anti-semitism in contemporary Europe"  in the Upper House of the parliament building on October 1, 2013 in Budapest, Hungary.  The two-day conference was organized by the Tom Lantos Institute (TLI)  and supported by the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and addresses relevant issues and concerns of European Jewish communities today. AFP PHOTO / ATTILA KISBENEDEK
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The so-called "maps speech" by Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid at the Herzliya Conference pressed on the weakest point of the thin line on which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is maneuvering. Since his Bar-Ilan speech five years ago June 14, Netanyahu has been raking in tremendous political capital from his declaration of support for a two-state solution. This is the string by which Netanyahu’s coalition, including the “brothers” Yair Lapid and Habayit HaYehudi Chairman Nafatli Bennett, hangs. As long as the Bar-Ilan pronouncement is not taken to touch on the border between the two states, there’s no border limiting the Lapid and Bennett friendship. The first can bandy about slogans about the need to gather the settlers within the settlement blocs, and the second can float a proposal to annex them. And Netanyahu? He is watching the boys frolic, using one hand to whip Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the other to sign off on another construction plan for the settlements.

Netanyahu understands that a map based on the 1967 borders with balanced land swaps — the only plan considered acceptable by the Western and Arab world — is a road map leading to the end of his government. On the other hand, if he presents a plan that leaves the blocs of Ariel, the Jordan Valley, Hebron and Greater Jerusalem in Israel’s hands, he will have to conduct the peace process mostly via Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon. At that point, even the United States and the other seven opposing countries will not stand in the Palestinians’ way to full UN membership and between Israel and the International Criminal Court.

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