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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Israel's proposed referendum law isn't quite what it's cracked up to be

Aaron Lerner discovers a major problem with Israel's proposed referendum law.
Media coverage of the proposed law requiring a national referendum in the instance that less than 80 MKs support transferring sovereign Israeli territory has for the most part ignored the potentially critical Subparagraph 3A.

Here is a rough translation:

"Despite what is written in Paragraph 3(A), if the Knesset approved the Government decision as per Paragraph 2, and within 180 days from the day that the Knesset approved [AL: with less than 80 MKs] there are Knesset elections, a national referendum will not be held; The said Government decision will be considered as if it was approved by a national referendum on the thirtieth day after the formation of the Government that was formed after the election, or at an earlier date that the Government decided on it, unless it decided to cancel said Government decision as per Paragraph 2."

The explanatory commentary accompanying the proposed law takes the position that the Knesset elections would in effect be a national referendum since it would no doubt be a major issue of the election campaign.

But - and this could be a very big but - nothing would stop a ruling coalition that came to power by promising voters that "a vote for party X is a vote against deal Y" from defying its mandate and declining to cancel the previous Government's decision within the 30 days.

In fact, since the prime minister has absolute control over the agenda of cabinet meetings, he can simply refuse to bring up cancellation of the previous Government's decision to a vote for 30 days.

And this when, no doubt, the prime minister would be facing tremendous world pressure not to cancel the decision.

Far fetched?

Hardly. And the media would no doubt praise the prime minister for "acting responsibly".
Read the whole thing.

He's right. Someone is playing games here. We've seen this before. This is a country where it is illegal to raise swine "on the land of Israel" - so those who wish to do so raise them on platforms (I kid you not).

What could go wrong? Plenty.


At 8:21 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Exactly. This is a country where governments routinely break their promises and then proceed to do the exact opposite of what they were elected to do. No wonder the current government could vote for the referendum bill. Nothing in it prevents it from doing what it wants and if it wanted to give up half of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, I'm quite sure no law would be able to stop it from doing the deed.


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