How the parties stand on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process

A look at the parties' positions on how to solve the Palestinian issue.

March 16, 2015 05:09
Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Isaac Herzog, Co-leader of the centre-left Zionist Union, are pictured together as campaign billboards rotate in Tel Aviv. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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For those voters worried about the resumption of the peace process, a united or divided Jerusalem and who supports or opposes a Palestinian state, The Jerusalem Post has compiled a list of the party platforms with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Yahad (Eli Yishai)

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Yahad believes God promised the Land of Israel to the people of Israel. This eternal bond between the Jewish people and their land is not subject to negotiations. It calls for the annexation of all of Judea and Samaria to the State of Israel and promises to strengthen the settlement enterprise in all of the West Bank.

Bayit Yehudi (Naftali Bennett)

Bayit Yehudi does not believe in a Palestinian state in east Jerusalem, or anywhere in the West Bank, and is therefore opposed to negotiations for a two-state solution west of the Jordan River. Similarly, it opposed the return of Palestinian refugees from other countries to the West Bank.

Its party head, Naftali Bennett, as well as the party platform, calls for the immediate annexation of Area C of the West Bank, where some 350,000 Israelis live and where all settlements are located. It wants to grant Israeli citizenship to what it estimates are 50,000 Palestinians who live in Area C. The bulk of the Palestinians, who live in Areas A and B should be given autonomy. Steps should be taken to help their economy flourish. Gaza, should be cut off from the West Bank and Israel, and instead should be solely connected to Egypt.

United Torah Judaism


United Torah Judaism said it did not have a formal position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including the West Bank.

Its primary focus is on religion and socioeconomic issues. All party positions are determined by a council of rabbinical elders.

Traditionally, however, the party has taken right-wing positions on the conflict and Judea and Samaria.

Likud (Benjamin Netanyahu)

Likud does not have a formal platform on any topic. Historically, it remains the only party to have withdrawn from Israeli territories – first from Sinai in 1982 under then-prime minister Menachem Begin as part of the peace agreement with Egypt. In 1997, during Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term in office, it divided Hebron and placed the bulk of the city under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority.

In 2005, under then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, it unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu, in 2009, during his second term as prime minister, imposed the first ever moratorium on housing starts in all settlements. That same year, he delivered an address at Bar-Ilan University that supported the idea of two states for two peoples. During his last six years as prime minister, construction in West Bank settlements decreased, but the number of tenders issued increased, as did the amount of land the government legalized for the area’s construction.

Netanyahu has consistently promised not to divide Jerusalem.

He has insisted that Palestinians must recognize Israel as a Jewish state in the context of any final status agreement.

During the campaign he said that in light of the growing extremists threats in the Middle East from terrorist groups, it is not possible at this time to make territorial concessions to the Palestinians and has promised to stand firm in support of Judea and Samaria.

Zionist Union (Isaac Herzog)

Zionist Union calls for two states for two peoples and a final-status agreement for a two-state solution that would have the support of the Arab world. Israel’s final borders would include the settlement blocs. Palestinian refugees could not return anywhere within Israel’s final borders and should return instead to the future state of Palestine.

Jerusalem would be strengthened as Israel’s eternal capital, according to the party platform.

It does not mention if Jerusalem would be united or divided, although party leader Isaac Herzog has spoken of a united Jerusalem during the elections. He has also spoken in support of freezing building in isolated settlements to halt Israel’s isolation in the international arena and to allow for the conclusion of a final-status agreement with the Palestinians.

Restitution for Jewish refugees for Arab lands would be included in such an agreement.

Yisrael Beytenu (Avigdor Liberman)

Yisrael Beytenu believes in a two-state solution that would be reached both with the Palestinians and the moderate Arab world. Its platform calls for redrawing Israel’s borders to include the maximum amount of Jewish citizens in Israel and the maximum amount of Palestinians in Palestine, including Israeli-Arab areas within Israel’s pre-1967 borders, such as the Triangle and Wadi Ara region.

Israeli Arabs should be able to decide if they want to retain Israeli citizenship.

Kulanu (Moshe Kahlon)

Party head Moshe Kahlon, a past MK for Likud, and his new party, Kulanu, have a centrist platform, which calls for the settlement blocs and Jewish neighborhoods of Jerusalem to be part of Israel’s final borders in any final-status agreement with the Palestinians. It also opposes the return of Palestinian refugees anywhere within Israel’s final borders. The platform calls for the revival of the 2004 letter in which former US president George Bush promised former Likud prime minister Ariel Sharon that these principles would be upheld in any final-status agreement.

Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid)

Yesh Atid believes in a two-state solution that includes a unified Jerusalem and retention of the settlement blocs, such as Ariel, Gush Etzion and Ma’aleh Adumim, and the evacuation of small and isolated settlements.

It opposes the return of Palestinian refugees to anywhere within Israel’s final borders. It calls for the immediate halt to settlement building outside the settlement blocs during negotiations with the Palestinians.

A final-status agreement with the Palestinians for a two-state solution should occur within the context of a regional peace agreement with moderate Arab neighbors. The Palestinian state would be demilitarized and Israel would have the right to preserve its security interests.

Meretz (Zehava Gal-On)

Meretz seeks a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a regional peace plan based on the 2002 Arab League peace initiative, that would include an agreed-upon solution to the issue of Palestinian refugees. It would also be based on the return to the pre-1967 borders with limited territorial swaps that would preserve Israel’s identity as a Jewish and democratic state.

Palestinian refugees would have the right of return to the future Palestinian state. The Gaza Strip would be an integral part of that state. Jerusalem would be a unified urban space but would be politically divided into the capitals for the Israeli and Palestinian states. To allow for the resumption of negotiations between two equal and independent states, Meretz calls on the UN Security Council to recognize Palestine as a state and accept it as a member state of the United Nations.

Joint (Arab) List (Ayman Odeh)

The Joint (Arab) List supports a two-state solution. It advocates a return to the pre-1967 lines with east Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state. As a result, all West Bank settlements would have to be taken down, and the security barrier, which it calls “the racist separation wall,” would be dismantled.

The Joint List also calls for the release of all political prisoners and the right of return for Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194.

Shas did not respond to queries from the Post.

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