Opposition Leader Herzog: Gaza Pullout Was a Mistake

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Zionist Union chairman Isaac Herzog. Credit: Michal Fattal

Disengagement from Gaza was a mistake in terms of security, Zionist Union chairman MK Isaac Herzog said Monday. “I don’t believe in the ability to take unilateral steps diplomatically, but only by agreement,” opposition leader Herzog added.

Speaking at a conference marking 10 years since the disengagement, Herzog said he thinks “that it is important to rally support so that Israel does not become an Arab-Jewish state at the end of the road. We must go to an agreement, and only an agreement that stands up to all the difficulties,” he said, giving the peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan as examples.

The conference was held in Nitzan, a community near Asheklon where many evacuees of the Gush Katif settlements in Gaza now live.

Herzog also spoke about the disengagement at a conference last week sponsored by the Israel Democracy Institute and the conservative daily Makor Rishon. There, he said that people from his side of the political spectrum “also need to think about whether the move in general was right. In principle it was the right move to separate from the Palestinians. We took 8,000 people out of a sea of Palestinians, but in implementation it was a decision full of mistakes.”

“Unilateral evacuation caused a feeling of deep national trauma and the public understands today that when we said Gaza will be the Hong Kong of the Middle East, we failed to understand and the opposite happened,” he added. “Any separation that comes must be the result of agreement with the Palestinians and on the basis of a regional infrastructure and of an updated Arab peace initiative. Because unilateral evacuation today, following the lessons of the disengagement, will not work.”

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