Israel’s opposition leader has outlined a ten-point plan for peace with the Palestinians, which would look to create the right conditions over a ten year period for a regionally-supported agreement.
Writing exclusively for Haaretz, Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog confirmed that he had been in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year over forming a national unity government. He said it would have helped secure a regional peace initiative which was being discussed by Netanyahu, Jordan’s King Abdullah, Egypt’s President al-Sisi and then US Secretary of State John Kerry.
Herzog said that although joining a Netanyhau-led government “was seen as political suicide… I felt it was my duty not to turn my back on the spectre I saw before me”. He said that Netanyahu “blinked first” due to right-wing pressure and missed an historic opportunity.
He wrote that Israel is at a “crucial intersection” where “we cannot accept the status quo, but we must also not repeat past mistakes.” Although Israel must not “jeopardize security,” Herzog said that the idea supported by some on the right to annex West Bank land would be “national suicide”.
He is now proposing a ten-point plan, with an initial step whereby both sides would reaffirm their commitment to a two-state solution. Herzog’s plan would then see a timeframe of ten years put in place, during which time several developments would take place. Israel “will suspend construction outside the settlement blocs” while “the Palestinians will act to prevent any terror and incitement”. The two sides would further separate and the Palestinians would be granted “broader authorities” in the West Bank, where the IDF would continue its activities. Meanwhile, “the parties will act to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip”.
Should the ten-year period pass without violence, “the two sides will open direct negotiations, with the backing of the region’s states and the international community” towards a final-status agreement. The talks, says Herzog would be “part of a dramatic, broad regional initiative” in order to “develop the region” in multiple areas.