Isaac Herzog, Chairman of the Israeli Labour Party HaAvoda
Olaf Boehnke, Head of ECFR Berlin Office
After completion of the deadline for the framework agreement between the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government on April 29th, peace talks seem to be stuck in a gridlock. Following ECFR’s recent workshop on this topic, ECFR Berlin had the pleasure to host Isaac, Herzog, Chairman of the Israeli Labour Party HaAvoda for a discussion in cooperation with the European Leadership Network (ELNET) on the topic of the Middle East Peace Process and the results of the Kerry Initiative.
In light of the latest developments the discussion tried to evaluate the effectiveness of US-Secretary John Kerry’s peace efforts but also asked ‘what’s next?’. In this context, Isaac Herzog shared his perspectives on the peace process and possibilities for its reinvigoration with a high-level group of Members of the German Bundestag, as well as representatives from various parties, the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Foreign Office, Koerber foundation, Adenauer foundation and the AJC Berlin office.
Even though Isaac Herzog expressed his positive assessment on behalf of the Kerry-initiative and welcomed some advancement in terms of e.g. security issues and borders, he also emphasized Kerry’s incapacity to generate a direct dialogue between Abbas and Netanyahu; in his eyes a fact which partially caused the current dead lock. However, he underlined HaAvoda’s intention to continue to reinvigorate the peace talks and affirm the ongoing possibility of a two state solution as part of its next election campaign. Moreover, regional developments, especially the P5+1 process with Iran and the war in Syria were identified as having major implications for the peace process talks and Israel’s relationship with its allies.
Thus, the discussion also focused on the role of Europe, and in particular Germany’s role as a possible key player in the negotiations and in the region. Emphasising the positive Israeli public opinion on Germany and its international position Isaac Herzog argued for a strong(er) German and European leadership, promoting new initiative ideas, Israel’s regional inclusion and dialogue between both parties.