Herzog says ‘regional’ and ‘global’ players behind coalition talks

In a heated interview on Channel 2, Herzog says Netanyahu ran away from a “rare opportunity” for peace, confirming that the coalition talks were backed by “regional and global players.”

He says Israel has “received messages from the regional leadership and world leaders” urging a unity government to advance a peace deal, claiming that world leaders told Netanyahu they didn’t trust him on matters of Israeli-Palestinian peace. He appeared to be confirming media reports that Tony Blair, John Kerry, and Egypt’s president were behind the effort to reconcile Likud and Zionist Union.

“What do you think, that Sissi works for me?” says Herzog, referring to the timing of a speech by the Egyptian president urging a peace push this week, as Herzog and Netanyahu held marathon talks.

There could have been a “historic” change, he maintained, but Netanyahu “ran away” under pressure by his Likud party.

“He decided it was hard for him,” Herzog says.

The Zionist Union leader concedes that it was possible that Netanyahu “played me,” and reiterates that “far-left extremists” thwarted the agreement, in a likely reference to his party member Shelly Yachimovich.

Herzog says talks with Netanyahu began in late March and denies he ever ruled out forming a unity government — even as Channel 2 ran a reel on his repeated comments to that effect.

“I never said I wouldn’t sit with Netanyahu, I said during the elections that this was one of the options.”

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