Labor Party chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich slammed the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority Thursday for getting to the point where Ramallah felt it needed to turn to the UN to push forward the two state solution.
Yachimovich spoke to Channel 10 as some 60,000 party members took to the polls to determine Labor’s slate in the January general election.
Saying that any unilateral measure was problematic, she also chided Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not preventing the move.
“Every political process needs to be a dialogue,” she said. “It’s a shame that we got to this point.”
The Palestinian Authority says it is seeking nonmember state status at the UN in order to push forward peace talks with Israel, while Jerusalem maintains that bypassing Israel will in fact set the process back.
Despite heavy pressure and lobbying from the US and Israel, PA President Mahmoud Abbas has remained firm in his commitment to bring the measure forward, and it is expected to pass by a wide majority when it comes up for a vote at the UN General Assembly Thursday afternoon.
Yachimovich said the move was likely to damage Israel, and Jerusalem, which has threatened punitive measures against the PA, needed to be careful about how it responds.
“We need to be smart today,” she said. “I suggest … not to make the flames any higher, since when you do the success of their move will be thought of as bigger. I suggest we ease down the flames, but there’s no doubt that this is a serious concern.”
Her views dovetail with her ideal for the dovish party as a centrist alternative to the ruling Likud faction, which earlier this week voted for a hard-line right-wing slate.
Yachimovich has said she fears her party, which is expected to lead the opposition with some 20 seats, will bring in too many on the far left.
Some 24 percent of eligible voters had cast their ballots in the primary by the early afternoon, with polls slated to stay open until 10 p.m.
The polls have reported few problems, in stark contrast to Likud’s computerized primaries earlier this week which saw widespread failures, but in Kiryat Gat police opened an investigation after a party member was suspected of forging ballots, Ynet news reported.