US Vice President Joe Biden met with Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Thursday, amid a rash of terror attacks across Israel that have further dimmed the prospects for renewed negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Herzog (Zionist Union) spoke with Biden about the ongoing violence and possible interim steps that could jumpstart negotiations.
During the meeting, Herzog presented Biden with his “Separation Plan”, a framework for partial disengagement from Judea and Samaria which the Labor Party adopted as part of their official platform last month.
Herzog emphasized the need for Israel to disconnect from Judea and Samaria, telling Biden “Only separation will lead to an end of the terror. If we don’t separate from the Palestinians, they will continue murder Jews here.”
The Separation Plan would complete the security fence in Judea and Samaria, and alter the route of the security wall in Jerusalem to cut out Arab villages in or near Jerusalem’s municipal bounds, effectively removing them from the city.
In addition, the Palestinian Authority would be given greater control over Judea and Samaria, with more territory taken from Area C under full Israeli control, and transferred to Area B under PA civil control. The plan also calls for a “regional security conference” bringing together Israel and “moderate Arab neighbors”.
At the same time, however, Herzog’s plan acknowledges that “a two state solution is not possible at the present time”, looking instead to offer interim steps to increase stability and maintain the vision of “Israel as a Jewish state, safe and democratic.”
The White House is reportedly also deeply pessimistic about the outlook for a two-state solution, with former Obama administration special envoy Martin Indyk remarking that "Obama and Kerry are looking at the very real likelihood that the two-state solution could die on their watch.”
Biden’s visit comes as senior US officials told the Wall Street Journal and New York Times that the White House was mulling options for reviving negotiations, including a potential UN Security Council resolution outlining the framework for a future agreement, or a major policy speech setting down American guidelines for a future peace treaty.
The Vice President met with both Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday.
Biden’s meeting with Abbas Wednesday night came on the heels of a deadly terror attack in Jaffa which left one American citizen dead. Abbas refused to explicitly condemn the murder, but offered his condolences.