Labor Chairman Gabbay Calls for 'Separating’ From Palestinians With Two-state Solution

On the heels of a 'hard right turn', Gabbay responds to Likud's recent aims to annex parts of the West Bank and criticism within his party

Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay, July 10, 2017.
AMIR COHEN/REUTERS

Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay plans to submit a resolution at the next convention, to be held within a few weeks, calling for “separating from the Palestinians on the basis of the principle of two states for two peoples.”

The move is in part a response to the recent Likud resolution in favor of annexing parts of the West Bank.

But it’s also a response to harsh criticism of Gabbay from the left, including members of his own party, over his “hard right turn” on various issues, including Israel and the Palestinians.

In October, for instance, he was slammed for saying in a television interview that a peace agreement doesn’t necessarily have to include evacuating settlements.

“If you make a peace agreement, then it’s possible to find solutions that don’t require evacuation,” he said. “In a peace agreement, if you’re making peace, why do you need to evacuate?’

Membership numbers have declined, and polls have shown a drop in voter support as well.

Consequently, Gabbay presumably resolved to draw up a formal platform on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, based in part on a series of briefings from people both in Israel and abroad who have been involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

A source in the party said the planned resolution “reflects the position and the desire of most Israelis,” in contrast to the Likud resolution, which “adopts a dangerous, irresponsible national policy of annexing millions of Palestinians.”

Gabbay’s resolution was the brainchild of Labor’s young guard. A few days ago, in a meeting with this group, Gabbay said, “The principle of two states for two peoples is a supreme Israeli interest and an existential and security necessity for Israel’s future. The political impasse leads to loss of hope on both sides and is liable to deteriorate into a difficult security situation, a binational state and the loss of our Jewish majority. This isn’t the Zionist dream on which the state was built. The two-state solution is the Labor Party’s policy, and it ought to be Israel’s policy,” Gabbay said.