In Labor Lawmaker's New Peace Plan, No Mention of Settlers, Jerusalem or Borders

'The enemy of our enemy could be our partner,' says MK Erel Margalit, whose plan is based on common interests between Israel and regional states.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
MK Erel Margalit with Yuval Rabin and Fathi Amara in Tel Aviv, July 31, 2016.
MK Erel Margalit with Yuval Rabin and Fathi Amara in Tel Aviv, July 31, 2016.Credit: Courtesy
Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

On the backdrop of a vote on setting a date for choosing the head of the Labor Party, MK Erel Margalit has presented a new diplomatic plan for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Margalit’s proposal, which he labels “a plan based on common interests,” looks at the conflict not only in terms of give-and-take but through a wider prism that will include other states in the region, ones with similar economic and security interests as Israel’s.

The plan doesn’t deal with issues such as the future of the settlements, Jerusalem, borders and refugees, but presents possible joint projects with regional states, such as cyber warfare or construction of a common airport. As an example, Margalit revealed that Israeli companies helped the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil giant defend itself against Iranian cyberattacks. The lawmaker said his plan would be presented to Arab countries this week.

The announcement in Tel Aviv was attended by Yuval Rabin, the son of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and Fathi Amara, a businessman and activist for the Labor Party who lives in Kafr Kana. “If we wait for Netanyahu we’ll find ourselves embroiled in a war in the near future," said Amara at the press conference held by Margalit. “We’ve had a social revolt and an economic one. Israel now needs a political one, directed against Netanyahu. The prime minister keeps preaching that we have no partner. He’s wrong — we have many. Several states and entrepreneurs who share common interests with us are our allies in a new and timely plan.”

"The enemy of our enemy could be our partner," Margalit added. "Since Yitzhak Rabin there has been no new thinking or initiatives here, no new language. The left has failed since Rabin’s time and we haven’t stopped to consider why. The reason is that all the plans since then dealt with what we give and what we concede. We on the left broadcast that we’d give territory, and then what? Nothing. The starting point for a dialogue was blocked since the Palestinians have very little to give us.”

It was decided that voting on the date of the primaries, which will be held Sunday afternoon, will be by secret ballot. The party court accepted the position taken by Margalit and Shelly Yacimovich, who believe that a secret ballot would allow them to win.

Over the last few months, the party has tried unsuccessfully to agree on a date for electing a new party leader. Party chairman Isaac Herzog, supported by Histadrut labor federation head Avi Nissenkorn, wants the elections to be held in July 2017. Yacimovich and Margalit want to hold them by December 2016. Sunday's vote will resolve the issue.

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