U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog at length yesterday morning on the state of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. After the meeting, Herzog said he received the impression that there’s a chance to narrow the differences between the sides and reach agreements.
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Kerry decided to initiate the meeting with the opposition leader on Sunday, and it was coordinated early Monday morning. “Kerry seems more determined than any other mediator, and I expressed my appreciation of his important role,” Herzog said yesterday.
“This is an historical moment when a decision will have to be taken. I believe we have no option other than separating from the Palestinians and the establishment of two states. Any other route will lead to a binational state that would be the end of the Zionist vision and the independence of the Palestinian state.”
Herzog made clear that the Labor Party under his leadership would support any move that would promote an agreement. “I repeatedly said there is a Knesset majority in support of an agreement, and stressed that we place utmost importance in security arrangements that would guarantee Israel’s ability to protect its citizens, and the prevention of the right of return of Palestinian refugees into the state of Israel.”
Herzog added that it wasn’t possible to estimate when the final draft would be presented to the sides, but said it was now up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “Both leaders will have to decide if they can lead a brave, historical move,” he said.