Herzog confirms unity talks took place after secret peace meeting
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Herzog confirms unity talks took place after secret peace meeting

Israeli opposition figure claims he entered negotiations to form a unity government, after a secret regional peace initiative

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog
Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said he entered into negotiations to join a unity government a year ago on the basis of a secret regional peace initiative being negotiated at the time.

Herzog, head of the Zionist Union, told American Jewish leaders on Monday that he demanded a total freeze on settlement construction as his condition for entering a national unity government with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and that Netanyahu was willing to appoint him foreign minister and in charge of the peace process. Herzog added that in that position he would have “work(ed) proactively to get international consent of sorts for construction within the settlement blocs.”

Herzog said the unity government agreement failed due to disagreement from members of Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition, who were not willing to distinguish between settlement blocs and far-flung settlements in the West Bank.

Herzog spoke on Monday to a meeting in Jerusalem of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organisation, a day after the Israeli daily Haaretz first published a report revealing that, one year ago, then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented a plan for a regional peace initiative to Netanyahu at a secret meeting in Aqaba that included Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

The deal would have included recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a renewal of talks with the Palestinians with the support of the Arab countries.

The Aqaba summit was the basis for the unity talks which began two weeks later, according to Haaretz, and confirmed by Herzog on Monday.

Kerry initiated the conference, Haaretz reported, citing former senior officials in the Obama administration who asked to remain anonymous. The Prime Minister’s Office did not comment to Haaretz on its report.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas knew about the summit, but did not attend according to Haaretz.

Following his talks with Herzog about a unity government, Netanyahu instead invited the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party to join his coalition government and named party head Avigdor Lieberman as defence minister. Netanyahu retains the title of foreign minister.

At a news conference prior to his meeting last week in Washington DC with U.S. President Donald Trump, Netanyahu called for a regional peace initiative.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments