‘Netanyahu guaranteed Labor veto power over Yesha construction’

May 18, 2016  

Speaking to reporters at a press conference Wednesday evening, Zionist Union chief Isaac Herzog addressed the likely entry of Yisrael Beytenu into the government and revealed details of his own recent coalition negotiations with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

According to Herzog, Netanyahu promised far-reaching concessions in exchange for the Zionist Union’s support of the Likud-led government, including veto power over construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. But the Prime Minister refused to agree to a formal building freeze, and insisted that the veto would be part of a verbal agreement and not part of the coalition agreement.

Herzog claims he refused the offer, and the impasse lead to the suspension of negotiations.

“In the middle of the night I informed Netanyahu that negotiations were being suspended. The talks stopped because we had reached a dead-end after a string of far-reaching agreements. I demanded that all of the agreements be in writing, but the Prime Minister refused that they all be written, particularly those concerning the two state vision, which would be a verbal agreement. I don’t believe in verbal [contracts].”

Nevertheless, Herzog noted that Netanyahu was prepared to concede on most of the Zionist Union’s core demands, saying that the Prime Minister had agreed to “a veto over building in the settlements, an end to racist legislation against certain populations and people, a number of far-reaching economic and social achievements, policy changes for the outlined gas deal, [Labor] control of the State of Israel’s foreign affairs, the immediate resumption of diplomatic talks [with the Palestinian Authority], the convening of a regional peace conference, [control] of the Foreign Ministry portfolio, the Economic Ministry portfolio, seven additional ministerial portfolios, five deputy ministers, control of fours Knesset committees including the Foreign Affairs and Security committees, and after one year the transfer of the Defense Ministry to the Zionist Union.”

The Zionist Union leader, who has come under fire from within his own party for pursuing negotiations with Netanyahu, blasted former Labor Party chief Shelly Yachimovich for her public attacks against the talks.

“She begged to get a ministerial position in the government,” Herzog said. He also slammed her for what he described as her excessive use of social media and her ties with the radical left, calling her the “brutal president of Facebook.”  

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