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Herzog to Abbas: Israeli-Palestinian peace possible within two years

Zionist Union leader meets Palestinian Authority president in Ramallah, urges ‘brave’ steps to renew negotiations

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with then-Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog in Ramallah on August 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser/File)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, right, meets with then-Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog in Ramallah on August 18, 2015. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser/File)

Opposition leader and Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah for a “deep conversation” Tuesday, which included a discussion on security issues and peace talks.

In the meeting, Herzog said Israelis and Palestinians can be at peace within two years if the leaders on both sides begin a “brave” dialogue.

“We must give hope to the [two] peoples by restarting the brave moves that will bring us back to negotiations, in a way that will obligate the leaders and also the peoples to conduct a renewed, brave dialogue.,” Herzog said.

“I’m convinced that if there is a will, it is possible to reach an agreement that will ensure the security of Israel within two years,” he added.

Such an agreement, Herzog said, “would be based on a rare regional opportunity that was created in recent months that we must not waste, which brings to bear the backing of neighboring countries for the Palestinians and ourselves to conduct a direct diplomatic process between us.”

The Zionist Union chief also said he told Abbas that “we must prevent a third intifada. There is a security deterioration in the field. We must do everything [to bolster security]. I clarified to my host that when it comes to security and the war on terror there are no compromises.”

The two met “for over an hour, one-on-one, for a deep conversation,” Herzog said after leaving Abbas’s office. The meeting comes two weeks after the PA president met with representatives of Israel’s left-wing Meretz party.

The Meretz delegation, headed by party leader Zahava Gal-On, visited Abbas following the firebomb attack by suspected Jewish terrorists on the Dawabsha family from the Palestinian village of Duma in the West Bank, in which the father and baby of the family were killed.

Abbas told the Meretz delegation that “If the situation continues as it is over the next month, we will have a different position,” without clarifying what he meant.

In the past two weeks, there has been an uptick in attacks against Israelis, with Israeli analysts describing them dryly as part of the “Duma Effect” – a response to the attack on the Dawabsha family.

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