Had a deal been made between the government and Zionist Camp for the latter’s entry into the government, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would have committed himself to seriously consider the Middle East peace plan pushed by the Saudis, according to the prospective coalition agreement between Netanyahu and Yitzchak Herzog. Portions of the now-shelved plan were broadcast on Channel Two Motzoei Shabbos.
According to the agreement, “Israel will positively consider the concept of regional reconciliation and specific elements of the Arab peace plan.” That peace plan includes a major Israeli withdrawal from Yehudah and Shomron, the establishment of East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian state, and an “agreed upon solution” for the return of descendants of Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 at the establishment of the state. In return, the plan calls for the Palestinians to drop further claims, and a normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries.
In a weekend speech, Herzog said that had he successfully joined the coalition, “it would the first time that an Israeli government would be willing to discuss elements of this plan, and the first time that discussions would be opened with Arab countries on the initiative. This would certainly have changed the face of the region.”
The agreement also proves that he did not, as fellow party MKs accused him, come “crawling with my tail between my legs into the government,” said Herzog, referring to Shelly Yechimovich, an arch-opponent of entry into the government who made just that accusation. “Little by little the truth is emerging – that I would have achieved for Zionist Camp getting the Defense and Foreign Ministries, and gotten a veto on construction in Yehudah and Shomron, a veto on the nutty legislation that the government is planning that threatens democracy in Israel, and a major diplomatic move. I did not crawl and I was not put to shame. If I had crawled I would have been Foreign Minister a long time ago.”