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Herzog: There's No Military Solution to the Situation

Opposition leader calls to turn the ceasefire agreement in Gaza into a wider, comprehensive regional agreement.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 8/28/2014, 2:14 AM

Yitzhak Herzog
Yitzhak Herzog
Flash 90

Opposition leader and head of the Labor party, MK Yitzhak Herzog, said on Wednesday that there is no military solution to the situation in Gaza.

Herzog, who spoke of the newly reached ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, said that the ceasefire must ultimately lead to a diplomatic move.

"There is no military solution to this situation," Herzog stated, adding that "the IDF's achievements in the operation must be a platform for a breakthrough in the diplomatic process.”

"The ceasefire that was reached yesterday must be just another step on the way to a comprehensive regional agreement, or it will not be long before we find ourselves in another round of terror,” he warned.

Herzog called for an agreement that will include the "moderate axis” in the region including Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority headed by Mahmoud Abbas, backed by the moderate Gulf states and sponsored by the international community.

"After countless rounds of terror and violence we must understand that the only way to choke Hamas’s terrorism is through a diplomatic process that requires taking an initiative and being courageous,” he said.

Earlier on Wednesday, the European Union (EU) welcomed the long-term ceasefire between Israel and the terrorist organization Hamas in Gaza and, like Herzog, called for more talks to bring a "comprehensive and sustainable agreement."

"Simply returning to the situation before the latest conflict is not an option," said a statement from the bloc's diplomatic arm, the European External Action Service (EEAS).

"A sustainable agreement should address all the root causes of the conflict and bring fundamental change to the situation in Gaza," the statement added.

Similar remarks were made Tuesday by United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who voiced hope that the ceasefire will set the stage for talks on a final Israeli-Palestinian Authority (PA) peace deal.

"The secretary-general remains hopeful that the extended ceasefire will act as a prelude to a political process as the only way of achieving durable peace," UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Ban warned that "a brighter future for Gaza and for Israel depends on a sustainable ceasefire" and that "any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible."

Ban cited the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement was chased out of Gaza by Hamas, which staged a bloody coup of the territory in 2007.

Reiterating that a two-state solution was the only viable option for peace, Ban called on the sides to return to negotiations on a final peace deal.