After Merger, Meretz Edits Out Barak’s Tough Message on Gaza

'We believe that we must restore hope to the residents of the Gaza Strip, not deterrence,' said a Meretz source

Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis
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Ehud Barak attending the launch of the Democratic Union list on July 25, 2019.
Ehud Barak attending the launch of the Democratic Union list on July 25, 2019.Credit: AFP
Jonathan Lis
Jonathan Lis

The Democratic Union shelved a page of talking points that called “to restore the deterrence equation in Gaza,” because the Meretz members on the slate objected to it.

The document had been distributed to the slate’s candidates over the weekend, to prepare them for media interviews, but it was changed following the criticism. A Meretz source told Haaretz, “That’s not our terminology. We believe that we must restore hope to the residents of the Gaza Strip, not deterrence. A term like ‘deterrence’ is from the lexicon of army people.”

Another source in the party added that MKs Tamar Zandberg and Esawi Freige, as well as contender Mossy Raz, had demanded that the item be removed from the document, which was prepared by members of Ehud Barak’s Democratic Israel party.

>> Read more: As long as the system fosters division, a united Israeli left is an impossible dream | Analysis

The clause that upset the Meretz members stated, “Before anything, we must restore the deterrence equation in Gaza. Netanyahu chooses restraint and pays protection to Hamas, and thus forfeits the security of residents of the border region.”

The document also stated, “Gaza creates a different challenge for the military echelons and the political echelons. The military echelons, the chief of general staff, the head of Military Intelligence and the head of Southern Command are the ones who will recommend to the government when and how to restore the deterrence against Hamas.

The government’s challenge is to create opportunities and diplomatic leverage between rounds [of fighting]. For example, in the five years that have passed since [Operation] Protective Edge, nothing has been done to insert a wedge between the 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and Hamas.”

The document points out that the new ticket’s name hasn’t yet been assimilated by the public and members were asked to mention the slate’s three leaders – Nitzan Horowitz, Stav Shaffir and Barak – in every interview. Candidates were also urged to “prefer the positive” when they respond to interview questions.

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