JERUSALEM – Member of Knesset and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog was prepared to uproot all Jewish communities in the West Bank (also known as Judea and Samaria) and divide Jerusalem if he became prime minister last year, Israel’s Makor Rishon and Channel 10 outlets reported Sunday.
Herzog, the Israeli Knesset’s opposition leader, reportedly offered those concessions in talks conducted with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before the March 2015 Israeli election.
According to reports, Herzog agreed to give Abbas an area that was equivalent to 100 per cent of the West Bank, including four per cent in land swaps. On the issue of Jerusalem, Herzog agreed to withdraw from neighbourhoods in eastern Jerusalem, which would have become the Palestinian capital. Herzog and Abbas also agreed to set up a joint Israeli-Palestinian municipality to run the shared city.
Under the Herzog-Abbas plan, a multinational force would administer the Temple Mount, although the Western Wall would remain under Israeli sovereignty. The two sides agreed to let Israel keep a symbolic presence in the Jordan Valley and to have Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian security forces fight terrorism together.
In response to the reports, Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) said, “The unearthing of the secret agreement between Herzog and Abbas proves once again that the Likud’s victory in the last election saved Israel from this suicidal plan that involved extremely dangerous concessions, including the division of Jerusalem.”
Herzog’s office dismissed the criticism, saying in a statement that “there is no need for mediators or secret negotiators in the dialogue with Abbas, and Herzog has stated that he would address the Palestinian parliament in Ramallah if he was elected prime minister.”