Herzog presents Kerry with West Bank disengagement plan
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Herzog presents Kerry with West Bank disengagement plan

Opposition leader says separation from Palestinians only way forward; Kerry said to respond positively to unreleased proposal

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog on February 3, 2016 (Courtesy)
US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog on February 3, 2016 (Courtesy)

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog presented US Secretary of State John Kerry with a plan for an Israeli pullout from the West Bank, telling him that separation is the only way forward with the Palestinians.

Meeting in Rome for the fourth time in six months, Herzog also suggested to Kerry convening a regional security conference in cooperation with Arab nations before the end of US President Barack Obama’s term next year.

“Israels are killed in the streets and the world advances surreal initiatives and boycotts. Disengagement is the only path to advance a two-state solution,” Herzog said, according to a statement from his office.

Herzog, head of the dovish Zionist Union faction, did not release details of his disengagement plan to the public.

Kerry expressed interest in the plan and said it contained elements similar to his own initiative of advancing security and cooperation in the Middle East, according to the statement.

File: Zionist Union leader MK Isaac Herzog speaking at the faction's convention in Tel Aviv, November 8, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Zionist Union leader MK Isaac Herzog speaking at the faction’s convention in Tel Aviv, November 8, 2015. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

There was no official statement after the meeting from the State Department or Kerry.

The US has largely put efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal on the backburner since talks broke down in 2014. US officials have indicated that the White House does not intend to make the issue a priority while Obama remains in office.

But Herzog pointed to near daily violence wracking the country as a reason to not put off efforts.

“Our citizens are being murdered and we must carry out a separation that will lead to a two-state solution,” he said.

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