Zionist Union pledges diplomatic initiative; Dagan tells rally country’s leadership dangerous


The Zionist Union yesterday launched its diplomatic platform and pledged to make every effort to establish Israel’s permanent borders through negotiation.

At a press conference, faction leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni presented the 40-page document formulated by a committee headed by MK Nachman Shai. The platform says that Zionist Union will seek 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 document pledges to attempt this through bilateral talks with the Palestinians. Should this prove unworkable, Zionist Union will involve regional and international powers, but rules out taking unilateral steps.

Any arrangement, says that platform, will be based on the principles of “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.” Predicting victory in next week’s election, Herzog commented, “The only platform that matters is the platform of a prime minister, so only our platform matters.”

Yesterday’s launch came on the day after a large rally in Tel Aviv called for a change of government. Although the demonstration was not officially supported by Zionist Union or other opposition parties, it attracted an estimated number of at least 30,000 participants.

Headlining the list of speakers was former-Mossad head Meir Dagan. Calling for change, Dagan said “Israel is surrounded by enemies. Enemies do not scare me; I worry about our leadership.” Describing a “crisis at the helm,” Dagan explained “there is a lack of vision, a lack of direction and determination, and a dearth of exemplary leadership. I fear hesitation and stagnation.”

Taking aim at Prime Minister Netanyahu, Dagan said “For six consecutive years … he did not lead one real move to change the face of the region or to create the foundation for a better future.”