MKs from Shas, United Torah Jewry, Meretz, and Labor all signed on to a letter of support sent by Labor Party MK Eitan Cabel to U.S. Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro. The letter expresses support for the efforts of the U.S. to negotiate a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Among the signers of the letter were Labor Party head Yitzchak Herzog, Meretz head Zehava Gal-on, Shas leader Aryeh Deri, UTJ's Moshe Gafni, and MKs Amram Mitzna, Meir Sheetrit, and Ofer Shelach.
The letter was sent after the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby issued an apology to Shapiro, a report on Channel 2 said, after MKs met with Shapiro and sharply questioned him on whether Israel could trust any deal Secretary of State John Kerry produced. At the meeting, Shapiro presented some of the ideas Kerry was likely to offer in the final version of his peace framework, which is still being developed. MKs, including Orit Struk, David Rotem, Nissim Slomiansky, and others questioned Kerry's ability to deliver on promises he would make in the name of PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.
“How do we know we can trust you?” MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) asked Kerry. “When are you going to be on our side?”
"There is pressure on us here that does not befit an ally [to the State of Israel],” MK Nissim Slomiansky (Jewish Home)said. “This is not a friendship but a coercion into having us agree to things we don't want.”
According to Channel 2, Shapiro was said to be “disappointed” with the results of the meeting. On Wednesday, Struk reportedly called Shapiro and apologized for the fact that the story had been leaked to the media.
In his letter, Cabel wrote that “in the wake of the attack against you and US foreign policy by members of the Land of Israel Lobby, we want to express our appreciation and support for its long-standing support for the State of Israel. We see the U.S. as Israel's most important ally, and we have no doubt that alliance will continue to thrive, despite the attempts by non-mainstream elements to denigrate it. We fully support the honest efforts of the U.S. to establish peace between us and the Palestinians, and end the 100 year long conflict in the region.”