After attacking party head Yitzchak Herzog last week for “breaking to the right” when he said that now was not the time to implement the two-state solution, Zionist Camp MK Shelly Yachimovich said there was “a good chance” that she will challenge Herzog for leadership of the party, Channel Ten reported Motzoei Shabbos.
Yachimovich, speaking at a weekend event, said that although she had a great deal of criticism of Herzog, “I still work together with him. But I have an obligation to say what I feel when things happen that are wrong.”
In a speech ten days ago, Herzog said that “it appears that it is impossible to implement a two-state solution today. Let me be clear – I am committed to that result, but not at any price. I want negotiations, I want an agreement and I am committed to achieving one. But both leaders are afraid to move – they are being restrained by the extreme elements on each side. They tell us that the two-state solution is dead – but I say it is not. But it will not happen tomorrow.”
Yachimovich said that “in a party built on democracy, we cannot allow ourselves to be silent on what we think of what Herzog said. Even Prime Minister Netanyahu would not dare say such a radical thing that is so alien to our worldview. Herzog was mistaken in saying it.”
Also commenting on Herzog’s speech over the weekend was MK Ayman Oudeh, head of the United Arab List. Channel Ten quoted him as saying that “if Herzog believes that the two-state solution is not relevant, then he is no longer relevant, and he must resign. Herzog is not worthy to be chairman of the opposition, because the main task of someone in that position is to present an alternative to the current government. Instead of doing that, he encourages the despair and desperation that is the strongest ally of Netanyahu. In effect he has become a supporter of Netanyahu.”
In the speech, Herzog admitted to a fact that he has previously denied – that he had seriously discussed joining Netanyahu’s government. “There was a moment after the election when I felt it would be proper to examine whether I could work with Netanyahu to make a dramatic change that would bring a solution closer. But he is afraid to change – there is nothing to be done with him, and there will be no progress with him at the helm. Netanyahu is following the tune of the right because he is afraid of them.”
Reiterating his position in an interview on Israel Radio Sunday morning, Herzog said that the ideal of the two-state solution was “separation between Jews and Palestinians – with us here and them over there. We must complete construction of the security fence around the settlement blocs and institute confidence building measures that will enable us to transfer responsibilities to the Palestinian Authority after we separate from them.”
Responding to Yachimovich’s position, Herzog said that his position was not the ideal one, but was required because the current government had done a thorough job of placing roadblocks in the path of a two-state solution. “We cannot sit by and do nothing as reality moves forward, and things are changing by the hour,” he added.
Yachimovich was previously head of the party, and was voted out because of the poor showing of Labor (the party’s original name) in the 2013 elections, when the party received only 15 seats.