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Zionist Union leader Herzog and Livni
Photo: AFP
Herzog: As PM, I will not negotiate with Hamas, release terrorists
Netanyahu rivals Zionist Union tour Gaza area with defense team, present policy, slam prime minister for 'saying yes to Hamas'.

Chairman of the Zionist Union Isaac Herzog and his co-leader Tzipi Livni visited Gaza-border communities on Wednesday. Speaking during the visit, Herzog said the if he were to be elected Israel next prime minister he would not "release murderers with blood on their hands and won’t negotiate with Hamas."

 

 

Herzog and Livni led a team of former defense officials now contending in the elections with the Zionist Union. The team includes former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin, former head of the elite Sayeret Matkal brigade Omer Bar-Lev, former defense minister Amir Peretz and reserve general Eyal Ben Reuven.

  

Zionist Union defense team (Photo: Roei Idan)
Zionist Union defense team (Photo: Roei Idan)

 

"In order to change the situation, we need to take initiative, and we will work to promote the demilitarization and rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip,” Herzog said

 

“Netanyahu failed in taking care of security, and we will give the proper response and create a new political horizon,” he added.

 

He laid out the three central tenets of the Zionist Union's security platform, including returning security forces to the area after Netanyahu's government removed them for budgetary reasons, building defense mechanisms like an underground wall to block Hamas' terror tunnels and "hitting terror hard," which he said also includes not freeing terrorists or negotiating with Hamas.

 

Livni addressed the issue of security as well, slamming Netanyahu for failing to secure Hamas' disarmament when Israel and the terror group agreed on an internationally-brokered ceasefire. During the fighting, many criticized Netanyahu for failing to work with the Palestinian Authority to reach a deal, preferring to negotiate indirectly with Hamas.

 

"There was a proposal that could have prevented the Palestinians from going to the UN, a situation which has put Israel in danger. Netanyahu said yes to Hamas, but we will say no to terror. We will enlist the world and mend out ties with the US," Livni said.

 

Yadlin, a respected IDF general who headed Israel military intelligence unit, slammed Netanyahu on Israel's international standing, saying that while "Iran is being courted, Israel is being isolated."

 

He also slammed Netanyahu for releasing Palestinians prisoners as part of peace talks with the US, a decision he made to appease right-wing elements of his coalition who were unwilling to agree to a freeze in settlement construction.

 

"We have a weak prime minister who failed at his own policy and failed Israel. He is not 'Mr. Defense' as he claims to be, he is 'Mr. Defenseless.'"

 

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