Herzog to Netanyahu: We'll Replace You
Opposition leader MK Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) promised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday that he will replace him “faster than he can imagine.”
Herzog had harsh words for Netanyahu as he addressed the Labor party convention, his first speech at this forum since being elected Labor leader at the end of November.
"Bibi, if you continue to act like the same CEO who lacks a vision and continue to hold ongoing campaigns of intimidation, we will replace you faster than you can imagine," he said.
"Israel deserves an economy that sees the citizen as being at the center. And especially one that does not budget settlements,” he charged. Herzog also attacked the policies of Finance Minister Yair Lapid and said sarcastically that he "has been successful in making us miss Yuval Steinitz” who served as Finance Minister before Lapid.
Referring to the peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority, Herzog once again reiterated that the Labor party will support any diplomatic process led by Netanyahu.
"It is not hands that Bibi is missing in the plenum, the question is whether he has a backbone,” said Herzog.
"Netanyahu and [PA Chairman] Abbas will have to decide if they want to lock millions of people and their descendants into a present and future of despair and hopelessness, or whether they are providing us with life side by side," he added. "They will have to decide if they choose hope or a forced wedding, one that would end the Zionist vision.”
Herzog recently outlined what he believed should be in an agreement with the PA, namely land swaps and the division of Jerusalem.
"I see Jerusalem serving as two political capitals: in eastern Jerusalem the capital of the Palestinian state, and the west of the city as the Jewish capital," Herzog said, adding "the seat of the Palestinian government could be in one of east Jerusalem's neighborhoods in my opinion, I'm not afraid of that."
When asked if all of Jerusalem would remain Israeli territory under his paradigm, Herzog wouldn't give details, saying "the Kotel (Western Wall) will stay in Israel's hands, as for the rest we have to be creative."
Herzog recently met with Abbas, and following the meeting declared that he would push the Israeli government to take "brave" steps in peace negotiations.
Shortly after he was elected as Labor head, Herzog said he was “in no rush” to join Netanyahu’s coalition and added that if Netanyahu made “a bold diplomatic move”, the Labor party would assist him in passing it.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua), eager to see a coalition that would it make it easier for her to pass an agreement with the PA which includes concessions to the PA, has been calling Labor to join the coalition in order to weaken the Jewish Home.
Herzog recently accused Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman of trying to sabotage the peace talks.
Responding to Liberman’s remarks at the Saban Forum, where the Foreign Minister said that peace was impossible in the near future, because there was “zero trust” between the two sides, Herzog called on Liberman to undergo a “reality check”.
He added that the Foreign Minister “should remember that even if he refuses to recognize a reality that exists, it does not mean it ceases to exist.”