Herzog meets with Abbas in Ramallah.
(photo credit: OFFICE OF ISAAC HERZOG (LABOR))
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas stood his ground, saying he plans to ask the UN for recognition in several ways, when opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Labor) visited him in Ramallah on Wednesday.
Abbas told Herzog he also plans to ask France to recognize Palestinian statehood based on 1949 armistice lines with land swaps. The Palestinian Authority leader expressed his frustration at the “lack of diplomatic movement, despite my willingness to negotiate with Israel.”
Herzog asked Abbas not to take unilateral action, which the opposition leader opposes, and reiterated that the Labor Party believes in direct negotiations.
“Negotiations are the only way, and therefore, we need to make an effort to bring the sides back to that path,” Herzog said.
The two agreed that following Operation Protective Edge, there was a unique opportunity for a regional agreement based on shared interests of moderate powers in the Middle East.
“Our leaders cannot miss this historic opportunity, because it may not come back,” Herzog said. “A diplomatic agreement is necessary for both sides and needs to be based on the Arab Peace Initiative, and peace is a primary security interest for Israel and the Palestinians.”
The Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by the Arab League in 2002, calls for Israel to withdraw from all of the West Bank and east Jerusalem and for there to be a “just settlement” of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, meaning that those who wish to return to Israel may and those who do not would be compensated.