Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
MK Omer Barlev (Labor) said that he was encouraged regarding the chances for a
negotiated peace, on Monday.
This follows a discussion on security issues
in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on
Barlev said that during the meeting he presented his security
concerns to the Palestinian president and was pleasantly surprised to discover
that not only was Abbas prepared to accept that any future Palestinian state
would be demilitarized, he also presented what Barlev described as a “moderate”
position on key military issues.
Though Barlev declined to elaborate on
the specifics, he said that Abbas told him, “I understand security is important
to you; to me borders are important.”
Barlev said that “It was
significant for me that Abu Mazen [Abbas] did not mention the holy places or the
refugees as the issues he viewed as the most important. He sounded very
Barlev, who accompanied the new Labor leader Isaac Herzog to
the meeting, said that Abbas showed a willingness to address Israelis’ concerns
about incitement by creating a joint Israeli-Palestinian committee to deal with
Barlev, son of former IDF chief-of-staff Haim Barlev, served
as commander of the Sayeret Matkal and commander of the IDF Jordan Valley
Brigade. He then entered the Knesset as one of Labor’s few military
He worked as a hi-tech executive and was active in “Aharai!” – a
non-profit organization that encourages army service.
Though he is one of
the founders of Peace Now, Barlev has expressed pessimism regarding the chances
for reaching a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians and has begun calling
for a unilateral pullout should the present Israeli-Palestinian talks
Like Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Barlev insists that in any
two-state solution Israel must retain military control over the Jordan Valley
This control is so that Israel can prevent arms smuggling into a future
Palestinian state, though Barlev would be willing to see US troops take over
after two to 10 years.At the beginning of November
, during a Fatah
meeting, Abbas said that Israel was lying when it said that it wanted to retain
control over the Jordan Valley for security reasons.