Israel’s Referendum Law: Protecting Democracy

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Was Netanyahu, then, implying that only a stupid people would reject ceding East Jerusalem or the Golan? If so, he was either insulting the people he was purporting to praise or ignoring repeated polls that show the opposite of what he suggested.

For instance, a poll last April found Israelis—by a 69%-13% margin—saying a division of Jerusalem would lead to generations of conflict rather than peace. And a 2008 poll found about two-thirds of Israelis opposing a peace deal with Syria that would entail a retreat from the Golan.

Far from being stupid, those positions are well grounded in experience. The division of Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967 created a nightmare of sniper fire and constant danger for Israelis in West Jerusalem, while all Israelis were—in direct contravention of a UN-brokered agreement—denied access to Jewish holy places in the city.

And in that same period, Syrian control of the Golan created a nightmare of frequent shelling for Israelis living below the Heights. Last year an exhaustive study by Maj.-Gen. Giora Eiland (a shorter statement by him is on YouTube), formerly head of Israel’s National Security Council, concluded that:

Israel does not possess a plausible solution to its security needs without the Golan Heights…. changing circumstances, both strategic and operative, have rendered Israel’s forfeiture of the Golan today an even more reckless act.

One might ask: if these issues are so clear and the public’s position is known, why the need for the referendum law in the first place?

The question answers itself. The past decade has seen Israeli prime ministers—Barak in 2000, Ehud Olmert in 2008—make reckless offers to the Palestinians (and in Barak’s case, Syria as well) for which they had no mandate and that were opposed by the public. Barak’s coalition collapsed as a result. In those cases, the Syrians didn’t even deign to answer, and the Palestinians rejected both offers.

The risk remains, though, that future Israeli prime ministers—smitten by the peace bug and the desire for world accolades—will make similar irresponsible offers in the future. Although it does not seem likely, it cannot be ruled out that at some point the other side will accept one of them.

If so, the referendum law ensures that such an offer will genuinely reflect the will of the Israeli people—or, if it does not, will be stopped in its tracks.

Nothing could be more democratic. And nothing can better protect Israel from the whims of its sometimes-irresponsible leaders.

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  • SHmuelHaLevi

    The Law is the tip of an iceberg that the distorting media has been making top efforts to conceal. Yet…
    In all cases when THE PEOPLE defeats the unJews here, the later run to their peons in the so called "supreme court". In Israel the courtiers, aka in normal States as Judges, are self elected and almost invariably hail from the far unJewish core.
    I hope they do not err again as the people has been sending very clear messages to the usurpers from Oslo. Yet the false peace industry barons are desperate and they control all armed sectors.
    One never knows with that element.
    They have already used armed forces to murder Jews since the Altalena times and to effect Pogroms as in Gush Katif, Amona, etc, so I would not be surprised if they at least attempt that again. That would be a fatal error on their part.
    In fact everyone everywhere should start threading very, very carefully.

  • Andres de Alamaya

    Israel has three major problems – 1. It is surrounded by hordes of Muslims who will never rest until they see Israel's total destruction. 2. It has within its midst and in government both Arab enemies and hemorrhaging-heart liberal Jews who would give away their freedom for a phony promise of peace and 3. It has Democracy, the beautiful concept that brings all reason to a halt. Its problems will never cease until it faces realities and acts on them.

    • sebyandrew

      It is early and maybe it's me.

      " It has Democracy, the beautiful concept that brings all reason to a halt."

      Cd. you elaborate on/clarify this 3rd point Andres?

      We shd. be hearing the farting of trolls soon BTW.

      • ziontruth

        “3. It has Democracy, the beautiful concept that brings all reason to a halt.”

        Maybe, but there’s no better alternative until HaShem sends us an exceptional leader (soon, amen).

  • Lee Poteet

    In short, it is in exactly the same position as the United States.

  • http://wwwtwosetsofbooks.blogspot.com/ patti

    I am amazed by who can be bought…

    http://wwwtwosetsofbooks.blogspot.com/2010/11/mee

  • http://gentwarrior.blogspot.com James Biga

    My post on this from yesterday http://gentwarrior.blogspot.com/2010/11/let-free-

  • Claus Christensen

    I applaud the initiative. However, there is little sense in being willing to hold on to this land if there is no will to ensure the survival of Israel as a whole. Demographics and democracy is a deadly cocktail as long as millions of arabs are allowed to live in Israel. Most, if not all, jews have been killed or expelled from the arab world since WWII and Israel cannot allow the national suicide that is demographic muslim warfare. The lasting solution is to stand behind the words of Kahane: they must go! Gaza, Judea, Samaria and the rest of Israel should be freed from the arabs permanently. There is no sense in protecting ones border if the enemy is already within the country in the millions. This is true for the West as a whole, true for my country of Denmark and this is true for Israel. Co-existence is a utopian dream, appeasement is treason – they must go.

    • danny bonca

      I agree they must go-The Knesset got that law through fast. They at last made a good
      law (smart) -no land for terrorism period

  • http://mypage.direct.ca/l/lbouchar/ SeaMystic

    There is only one thing left for Israel and any other Democracy, declare total War on Islam, or through time our children will be enslaved by this pestilence called Islam.

    check: http://www.petitiononline.com/MYSTIC/petition.htm

  • CervenaVrana

    "The West Bank itself, to which Israel has never applied sovereignty, is not affected by the law." This is insanity. The West Bank is the very heart of Israel. Why is the West Bank not affected by this law?

  • Claus Christensen

    If the Israeli establishment haven't learned from the insanity of giving away Gaza to the muslims they are doomed to fail. Judea and Samaria IS Israel and the only problem is the constant births of arabs on its soil. The muslims got 'Jordan' handed to them and this is where it should end. Throw them out of the so-called West Bank and keep defending the territory at all costs. Learn from Churchill: "we will fight them on the beaches… we will fight them with growing confidence in the air, we will NEVER surrender!"
    The muslims are among the last of the nazi collaborators from WWII who have not been taught a proper lesson.

  • AL__