Israeli Labor Party Leader Herzog: Two-State Solution is Unattainable Today, Separate from Palestinians
January 28, 2016 — The leader of Israel’s Labor party, Isaac Herzog revealed his new plan in a speech he gave in Tel Aviv at the National Security Studies Conference on January 19th, where he concluded that it is currently impossible to implement a two-state solution in the immediate future. (Below are excerpts from his comments reported by numerous Israeli and world media outlets). “I’ve been observing the situation for some time and I realize that right now it would be impossible to negotiate a two-state solution… I’ve not abandoned the idea; my basic position continues to be that the only way to solve the conflict is by implementing a two-state solution… The reason we cannot achieve it right now is that Netanyahu and Abbas… are held hostage by their supporters and they are alienated from one another.
“The basic principle is separation from the Palestinians; we should separate wherever it is feasible. This will increase security. We should complete the fence around the settlement blocks, us here and them there. That will lower the level of terror immediately. Ariel Sharon did it successfully. The separation wall will reduce terrorist’s attacks and each of us will be able to go on with his life.
“I suggest withdrawing from 28 Palestinian villages surrounding Jerusalem and building a wall that will keep them out of the city. We don’t need hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in our capital… By doing this we will reduce the level of friction. Anyone who wants to work here will have to receive permission from the various security agencies. I don’t describe this as a diplomatic measure. It is a security measure. What I am saying is that peace is unobtainable right now so let’s achieve security so that we can talk about peace.
“We will be here and you, Palestinians, will be there…live your lives, improve your economy, create employment.”
Regarding Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza, Herzog said:
“They will have no immunity and for every attack they’ll pay a heavy price. This won’t mean dummy bombings of empty areas. We’ll employ an effective iron fist and shut down their radio and TV stations. After that they won’t have Internet or mobile phone services. They won’t be able to transmit instructions to terrorists. We’ll take harsh and severe steps, including ones directed at their leaders.”
Following his speech, Herzog went to Paris where he met with French President Francois Holland at the Elysee Palace, telling him that current French and EU resolutions restricting trade with Israel to the 1967 boarders only reward terrorism and the BDS movement and nullify the possibility of advancing regional moves. Herzog added, “Israelis won’t accept anyone imposing decisions on them. Israel is a sovereign state, hence any such decision or step only damages Israeli public willingness to advance toward a change in the Middle East.’’
“Herzog’s remarks”, said Rabbi Marvin Hier, Founder and Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, “reflect a widely held opinion in Israel on all sides of the spectrum that what we have before us today is a three-state solution, with two separate Palestinian entities that don’t speak to each other, one in Ramallah and the other, headed by Hamas, that make prospects for peace in the near future untenable.”