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The New Arab

Israeli opposition leader calls for 'ghettoising' Palestinian areas

Herzog's plan would amount to apartheid if implemented [AFP]

Date of publication: 11 February, 2016

Israel's opposition leader Isaac Herzog has called for segregating Palestinian territories away from Israeli areas 'as much as possible' in words reminiscent of South Africa's apartheid regime.

Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Wednesday called for ghettoising Palestinian areas by unilaterally separating from the Palestinians "as much as possible".

The head of the Labour-led Zionist Union coalition proposed separating Palestinian areas on the outskirts of occupied Jerusalem from the Israeli side of the city and completing construction of Israel's illegal wall that already separates much of the occupied West Bank.

"I believe that we have to be realistic," Herzog said at a news conference to unveil his initiative to foreign journalists.

"And I believe that reality calls right now to understand that, tomorrow, peace is not around the corner. What needs to be done is separating from the Palestinians as much as possible. This is taking our fate in our own hands."

Critics say the measure, if implemented, would amount to a form of apartheid, similar to that practiced by the former white-dominated South African regime.

Herzog's plan also calls for preserving the main Israeli settlement blocs in the occupied West Bank and encompassing them within the boundaries of Israel's illegal wall.

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pledged to build a fence to protect Israel from "predatory beasts".

This would "surround the whole country" he said, while visiting an area close to the Jordanian border.

"In the neighbourhood in which we live we need to protect ourselves from predatory beasts," said Netanyahu in reference to Palestinians and Arabs.

The Israeli prime minister and leader of the opposition on Wednesday exchanged accusations of stealing each other's ideas about ringing fences around Palestinian areas.

After Herzog accused of Netanyahu of "trying to be Herzog" Netanyahu retorted by saying: "How can we trust your judgement on how to deal with the threats around us when you only realise what's going on here after a delay of years?"

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