Herzog and Abbas 370.
(photo credit: Ran Aharon)
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday, for the first time since the former was elected Labor leader last month.
"We have a partner that is ready to go the distance for peace and take original, brave steps on core issues," Herzog said following the meeting.
The Labor leader told Abbas that security arrangements are of the utmost importance to Israelis and are necessary in order to bring about a two-state solution based on land swaps.
"We have a historic opportunity for peace and we must do all we can to seize it," Herzog told Abbas. "Labor will help in every way to make this vision come true through political and public means."
Abbas told Herzog he is prepared to take courageous steps toward peace, but that he is concerned about reports that plans to build 20,000 homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank were not canceled but frozen temporarily, calling the construction a danger to the peace process.
The PA President invited Herzog to Ramallah after he became opposition leader.
Labor MKs Omer Bar-Lev and Erel Margalit joined Herzog, and Saeb Erekat, leader of the Palestinian negotiating team took part in the meeting, as did Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Muhammad Mustafa and other officials.
Margalit and Abbas discussed economic initiatives for cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians.
Last Thursday, Herzog met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
and received a briefing on diplomatic and security matters, which was mostly focused on the world powers' agreement with Iran and peace talks with the Palestinians.
At the time, Herzog told Netanyahu that he "cannot avoid making a decision on the Palestinian issue, and if he decides to make history, the Labor Party will give him the necessary support."