Lapid meets again with Palestinian minister calling for two-state solution

Hussein A-Sheikh called for “stopping unilateral measures that obstruct the two-state solution.”

By Aryeh Savir and Baruch Yedid, TPS

Minister of Foreign Affairs Yair Lapid met on Wednesday evening with Palestinian Authority (PA) Civil Affairs Minister Hussein A-Sheikh, the latest in a series of meetings between the two officials.

Lapid did not disclose the contents of the meeting, but A-Sheikh stated that he “reconfirmed the necessity of having a political horizon based on signed agreements and the resolutions of international legitimacy.”

He also called for “stopping unilateral measures that obstruct the two-state solution.”

Lapid met in January at his home in Tel Aviv with A-Sheikh. He stated after the meeting in January that he will “do as much as I can to convince my government partners to go for a diplomatic move. I think that is the correct thing, but I will not do anything behind their backs and I will not do anything against their will.”

“Everything is completely coordinated with both the prime minister and the defense minister and will continue to be fully coordinated. At the moment, the composition of the government does not allow us to go on a political move, I will continue to make an effort to convince them otherwise,” he stated.

Wednesday’s meeting between Lapid and A-Sheikh is the latest in several that took place between senior Israeli and PA officials.

Gantz hosted PA President Mahmoud Abbas at his home in Rosh Ha’Ayin at the end of December for “a discussion on a number of security and civilian topics.”

Lapid also met with the head of PA intelligence Majd Faraj.

A-Sheikh and Faraj are the closest officials to Abbas and are leading candidates to succeed him.

In his meetings, Lapid has pointed to Israel’s preferences for Abbas’ heirs.

A-Sheikh enjoys good relations with officials in Israel and this is a huge advantage for him in the race for the PA leadership.

Lapid’s meetings, together with a series of steps taken by Abbas in recent years, have marked these two Palestinian officials as the heirs who are preferred by the Israeli defense establishment as Abbas’ successors.

In Israel, A-Sheikh and Faraj are seen as capable of managing the affairs of the Palestinian Authority, even though in the Palestinian arena itself they are attacked because they allegedly accepted the idea of “economic peace” with Israel, an idea completely contrary to the “principles of the Palestinian national project.”

Faraj and A-Sheikh have accompanied Abbas on his diplomatic travels and important meetings in Ramallah.