Israeli opposition leader meets Palestinian president

Jerusalem, Aug 18 (IANS) Leader of the Israeli parliament opposition bloc and head of the Zionist Union party Yitzhak Herzog met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Tuesday, saying both sides could reach a peace agreement within two years.

“I am certain that if there’s a will, we can reach an agreement that would keep Israel’s security intact within two years,” Herzog said in a statement issued following the meeting.

The Zionist Union lawmaker said although he is adamant about the need to crack down on terrorism, there must be a diplomatic process that would “give hope to both people,” Xinhua reported.

Herzog also said there was a “historic opportunity” to restart the negotiations, with the support of moderate Arab countries in the region.

The last round of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority took place between July 2013 and April 2014, with the mediation of the US.

Israel suspended the talks amid the reconciliation pact between Fatah, which constitutes the Palestinian Authority, and Hamas and the establishment of a Palestinian unity government.

Israel considers Hamas a terror organization and had battled it several times in the past several years, including last year’s two-month Gaza War, which left more than 2,200 Palestinians and over 70 Israelis dead.

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