Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Aug. 12 at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah with two members of the Democratic Camp party — Knesset member Issawi Freij and the granddaughter of slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Noa Rothman. The two, who were personally instrumental in the merger of the left-wing Meretz party with the Democratic Israel party of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, asked for the meeting to highlight their new party’s unique ideological foundations, eschewed by all other Jewish Israeli parties, striving for an agreement with the Palestinians.
Other center-left and centrist parties, such as Labor and Blue and White, had pushed aside issues of peace and the diplomatic horizon ahead of the April 9 elections, and are doing so in the run-up to the Sept. 17 voting as well. Were it not for Freij and Rothman, the hope for peace, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and two-state solution probably would not have made it onto the campaign agenda at all. The only plans that exhausted Israeli voters are hearing about day in, day out are for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.