Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On presenting the party's diplomatic platform.
(photo credit: MERETZ)
The conflict with the Palestinians must end within two years, or the world will force a solution on Israel, Meretz leader Zehava Gal-On declared on Tuesday, presenting the party’s diplomatic platform.
Meretz claimed to be the first party to deal with the topic, though several other parties on the Left and Right have released their diplomatic- security platforms.
Any solution must be based on two states for two nations with a border based on pre- 1967 lines with agreed-upon land swaps, and include an end to the conflict through a regional solution based on the Arab Peace Plan, the Meretz platform states.
The party sees UN recognition of a Palestinian state as a pathway toward negotiations and calls for the following immediate steps to be taken: Stopping settlement construction, paying Israeli residents of the West Bank to leave willingly and removing the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in a gradual and coordinated way.
“If there is no diplomatic agreement within two years, the world will force one on Israel,” Gal-On said. “We cannot reach negotiations from a position of disadvantage, with international sanctions. That will weaken us and our ability to insist on security arrangements.”
By building settlements, the government “is not only wasting our money on bizarre adventures in the territories, but it is laying thousands of explosives to blow up the idea of two states and dividing the land,” she said.
The Meretz chairwoman said that the Zionist Union’s platform is similar to things that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, such as that Israel will always be a Jewish state and Jerusalem will not be divided.
(However, in an interview in The Jerusalem Post Election Arena last month, Zionist Union No. 2 Tzipi Livni said that dividing Jerusalem would be up for negotiation.) “That doesn’t sound like a diplomatic plan to me, but like a recipe for Livni and [Zionist Union chairman Isaac] Herzog to sit with Netanyahu and for four more years of paralysis and silence while the Right builds a binational state in the settlements,” Gal-On continued.
“There is no need for more Palestinian bloodshed to understand that we and they must promote a diplomatic process,” she said.
To do that, Gal-On called for Israel to free itself from Netanyahu’s “victim mentality” and excuses.
Meretz’s diplomatic adviser Ilan Baruch, a former ambassador to South Africa, said: “Enough with managing the conflict. We have to solve the conflict.
“Residents of the Western Negev [close to Gaza] are hostages of the frozen diplomatic process,” Baruch said.
The party launched its diplomatic platform a day after releasing its full, 75-page, one.
The Meretz Platform has 14 chapters: Equality for every group in society, social justice, education, human rights, religion and state, the diplomatic process, security and foreign affairs, environmental justice, agriculture, good governance, government, art and culture, sport and drugs, alcohol and smoking.
According to Gal-On, the platform represents a leftwing worldview in all areas, which puts the values of equality, justice and democracy at the center.
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