Was the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan fundamentally wrong? Jair Lapid does not believe it, but sees errors in the implementation.
Tel Aviv (AP) – Israeli Foreign Minister Jair Lapid does not view the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan as a sign of the end of the powerful ally’s influence in the region.
“The United States is looking for new ways to influence things,” Lapid told foreign reporters in Jerusalem Wednesday. “I don’t think they are withdrawing from the Middle East.”
Regarding the nature of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, however, Lapid said: “It was probably the right decision that was not implemented in the right way.” Israel continues to adhere to the principle “we stand up for ourselves,” said the foreign minister. “You can’t expect other people to do this job – it has been proven time and time again.”
Regarding Israel’s relations with the Palestinians, Lapid said he was personally a “strong supporter of the two-state solution.” This provides for an independent Palestinian state that exists peacefully alongside Israel. However, it is currently not possible to implement this vision, Lapid said. The new Israeli government must focus on solving internal problems in the years to come. The reality on the Palestinian side also precludes the possibility of a breakthrough.
For this reason, efforts are currently being made only to improve the living conditions of Palestinians, Lapid said. “We need to make sure that we do not do anything that could undermine the prospect of returning to the negotiating table in the future.”
The biggest threats to Israel’s security remain Iran’s nuclear program and Hezbollah’s Lebanese militia, Lapid said. Faced with the failure of negotiations, the world needs a “plan B” vis-à-vis Tehran, he demanded.
He has already seen improved communication since Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s last meeting with US President Joe Biden, Lapid also said. Israel’s relations with the European Union, its most important trading partner, have also improved under the new government.