Labor leadership candidate Isaac Herzog called upon Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu on Thursday to support the Palestinians’ effort to get a Palestinian
state declared at the UN General Assembly in September.
Herzog issued the
call as part of a new diplomatic initiative he published on his website ahead of
the September 12 Labor leadership primary. The plan calls for negotiations to
maintain the West Bank settlement blocs, while freezing construction and
offering compensation to settlers who live beyond the security
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“Israel must melt the iceberg our ship is about to hit in
September, by declaring that we will support the decision on condition that
there be negotiations on the final borders,” Herzog told Israel
Herzog expressed cautious optimism about the unity deal initialed
between Fatah and Hamas. He said Israel should be encouraging the international
community to pressure the new Palestinian government to accept the quartet’s
principles – including renouncing violence, recognizing Israel and accepting
previous agreements signed with Israel.
“We are going to work on two
states now, not three,” he said. “Israel must take the reins and tell the world:
‘It’s time for Abbas to sit with Netanyahu.’” At a meeting of the Labor faction
in Tel Aviv on Thursday morning, Herzog called upon interim Labor chairman Micha
Harish to convene the party’s executive committee to discuss the developments in
the Palestinian Authority.
Herzog and his rival for Labor leadership, MK
Shelly Yacimovich, faced off in a debate in Hadera on Thursday night. Yacimovich
criticized Herzog at the debate for not publishing a diplomatic plan when he was
a cabinet minister. She blamed the pre-September chaos on Labor remaining in the
government without influence for so long.
A Dahaf Institute poll
published Thursday in Yediot Aharonot
found that former Labor chairman Amram
Mitzna – who will join the race next week – would bring Labor the most seats in
the next election.
The poll predicted that Mitzna would bring Labor 16 or
17 mandates, Yacimovich and Herzog nine and MK Amir Peretz six or seven.