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Opposition Leader uses OpEd to Tell His Side of Secret Talks

Isaac Herzog, the head of Israel’s political opposition, has used the pages of the daily newspaper Haaretz to tell his side of the ‘secret negotiations story’ after being a topic of discussion since it became known that Prime Minister Netanyahu, Egyptian President Al-Sissi, Jordanian King Abdallah II and former US Secretary of State John Kerry met secretly in Aqaba, Jordan, to discuss a peace deal that fell apart when Netanyahu could not deliver his right-wing constituency. Herzog played into the story when it was revealed that as part of the arrangement he would have brought his faction into the government except his role was snatched by Avigdor Lieberman who became defense minister and took over the cabinet position that would have gone to Herzog. The events took place between March and May 2014. Herzog used his op-ed space to answer critics who have expressed the opinion that he missed a chance to advance the prospects for peace by charging that Netanyahu “blinked first and caved in to his rightist allies and to the sum of all of his fears.” According to the opposition head, Netanyahu’s weakness was unlike his own courage. He was “ready to bear the brunt of my political allies’ and rivals’ abuse and insults to spare my people and homeland another round of bloodshed.” Herzog set forth ten points in his manifesto which so far has not ignited either excitement or a rush toward a deal. One pundit told The Media Line that it read “like a review/summary of old attempts to make peace.”