Opposition Head to Kerry: Ignore the Right
MK Yitzhak Herzog, head of the Opposition and the Labor Party, spoke to Arutz Sheva about his meeting last weekend with US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Security Adviser Susan Rice.
"Despite the crisis in Ukraine they gave me a lot of attention," stated Herzog. "They're concerned, they want to reach a framework agreement. They see an American, Israeli and Palestinian interest."
Herzog used the meeting to encourage the Americans to ignore Israeli criticism and to attack his opponents on the right, saying "I told them not to be bothered by the criticism from the right. There is an interest above all criticism of this sort, and we have to reach an understanding or framework agreement in the next month."
In the past Herzog delineated the kind of "understanding" he is now trying to help the Americans push through on a short time scale. Last December, the MK proposed dividing Jerusalem to create a PA capital in the city, in addition to massive land withdrawals from Israel's heartland of Judea and Samaria.
"It's not the time for a blame game," opined Herzog, referring to the outspoken criticism of Kerry's plans for wide-scale Israeli withdrawals. "What will happen if (Palestinian Authority Chairman) Mahmoud Abbas will go to the UN? What will that do to the settlement enterprise when he starts a delegitimization process against Israel?"
Historic compromise or mere capitulation?
When asked whether his plans to "deal with" the delegitimization process aren't merely a matter of capitulating, Herzog justified his stance by saying "in the end whoever wants Gush Etzion to be under Israeli sovereignty, like I do, needs to understand that there's a need to reach an historic compromise."
By trying to ask for more than minimal blocs of Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, Israel will "suffer," opined Herzog, arguing that a "Jewish Democratic state" can only be guarded by "reaching an agreement with many great advantages for Israel" that requires "flexibility."
"It might be that the Americans want a wedding here and we and the Palestinians don't," commented Herzog. "But as head of the Opposition I tell you, if (Prime Minister Binyamin) Netanyahu won't reach an agreement I'll replace him, because the people of Israel won't agree to a situation in which an avoidable conflict continues."
On Sunday, Herzog has similarly expressed his desires to replace Netanyahu as prime minister, saying he would “bring Labor to lead the country” at the head of “a major center-left coalition” which would replace the current Likud-led government.
Herzog concluded by referencing the massive hareidi protest on Sunday, saying "it pains the heart when again a group conflicts with another group in Israel. Every group deserves to express itself and I value every group in the people of Israel. The question is how did we reach a discussion of hate like this?"
"The service value of equal burden is very important to me, but the law could have been done by dialogue and not by compulsion," remarked Herzog, echoing his comments to the same effect from Sunday.