Labor won't hesitate to evacuate more settlements: The Labor party will favor unilateral withdrawals should negotiations with the Palestinians fail, and offer compensation to settlers willing to voluntarily leave the West Bank, Chairman Amir Peretz said during his speech at the Herzliya Conference Monday evening.
"Every citizen who wants to leave his home in Judea and Samaria will be fairly compensated. The compensation will dispel uncertainty and will enable the citizen and his family to open a new chapter in their life."
"Those who want to rebuild their home will find an outstretched hand and full support. Gaza evacuees today live in caravans, and are paying the price of human abandonment that characterized the last evacuation. The Labor government won't hesitate to clear settlements, but will do it with concern and sensitivity for the lives of their residents," the Labor leader added.
In his address, the Labor party leader presented the principles of the party's platform ahead of the upcoming elections, namely a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, direct negotiations between the two sides, an uncompromising war on terror, and the completion of the West Bank security fence.
Peretz at Herzliya Conference (Photo: Ori Porat)
"I intend to offer the Israeli public a moral road map that includes both a diplomatic chapter and a socioeconomic chapter," he said.
Peretz noted West Bank settlement blocs must remain in Israel hands and Jerusalem must remain Israel's eternal capital "within borders that will guarantee a Jewish majority and character with international recognition."
"Whoever believes in maintaining the Jewish majority in the State of Israel must ask himself whether we wish to annex 230,000 Palestinians (in Jerusalem) who enjoy a resident status but view themselves as Palestinians," he added.
Peretz expressed his regret over the boost in Hamas' position among Palestinians and warned that Israel – under his leadership - would not engage in talks with terror groups that call for the destruction of the Jewish State.
'Iranian threat severe'
The Labor party leader told the Herzliya forum that "according to the moral road map that I'm offering here, the economic and security aspects are interlinked, they nourish one another. Every intelligent person knows that the matter of a nation occupying another nation is a question that is gnawing at the Israeli State."
"The question is placing in doubt the commitment of youths to the State of Israel," Peretz said.
Turning his attention to the Iranian threat, the Labor chairman said that "we mustn't take it easy on this matter under any circumstances. This is a very severe threat. "
"There's no doubt that there is a consensus on this issue among all the parties. There's no need to turn the question of the Iranian threat into a political question. The whole of the State of Israel knows that there must not be division, and therefore every public expression (on this) can harm the effort and not strengthen it," Peretz said.
Addressing the Syrian front, Peretz said he had "no intention of releasing Syria of responsibility for what is happening over its border. There's no doubt that the Syrian regime is weak but we should not rush to rejoice, because weak, hostile regimes can collapse, and the alternative must always be thought about."