Livni and Herzog.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The Zionist Union will begin a major diplomatic initiative aimed at setting the permanent borders of Israel if its leader Isaac Herzog forms the next government after the March 17 election, according to the party’s diplomatic platform, which he launched Sunday in Tel Aviv.
Herzog, who spoke alongside his fellow Zionist Union candidate for prime minister, Tzipi Livni, mocked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud for lacking any platform on any issue. The Zionist Union platform is 40 pages, while Yesh Atid’s has 273 pages.
“Netanyahu has no platform and doesn’t give answers,” Herzog said. “The only platform that matters is the platform of a prime minister, so only our platform matters. We know where the platforms of parties go once a government is formed.”
The platform, written by a committee led by MK Nachman Shai, says a diplomatic settlement is in Israel’s primary interests and a condition for ensuring its future as a Jewish and democratic state that enjoys wide international support.
“The Zionist Union will act to formulate a diplomatic settlement and to determine secure and permanent borders for the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state by launching a diplomatic and security initiative,” the platform says. “This initiative will reflect the core values of the State of Israel as expressed in Israel’s Declaration of Independence: combining the call for peace and good relations with our neighbors with the unambiguous definition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”
The party’s first choice would be to renew bilateral negotiations with the Palestinians.
Regional international approaches would be attempted if the Palestinians are not interested in bilateral talks. Unilateral approaches are ruled out.
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“The final settlement will be based on preserving the essential security needs of the State of Israel and ending the Arab-Israeli conflict,” the platform says. “The arrangement shall be designed with the support of moderate Arab states and the international community, and based on the following principles: demilitarization of the Palestinian state; keeping the West Bank settlement blocs under Israeli sovereignty; strengthening Jerusalem and its status as the eternal capital of Israel; and guaranteeing religious freedom and access to the holy places of all religions while maintaining Israeli sovereignty.”
It says the Palestinian refugee problem will be solved through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and not in Israel, and the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab countries must be addressed in any final-status agreement.
The party calls for ceasing settlement construction outside the settlement blocs, which it believes harms Israel’s international standing and is contributing to its international isolation.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.
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