Powered by WebAds

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Referendum law passes key vote in Knesset

On Wednesday, the Knesset passed a law requiring a referendum for any territorial concessions in the Golan Heights or in Jerusalem. The vote was 68-22.
The referendum bill stipulates that any withdrawal from east Jerusalem, the Golan or another area which under Israeli sovereignty would first have to be approved by the majority of the Israeli public.

The vote crossed coalition-opposition lines, with over one-third of Kadima MKs supporting the bill, but with the majority of Labor ministers conspicuously absent from the vote.

Despite voicing reservations shortly before the vote, Labor party chairman Ehud Barak voted in favor of the controversial bill.

"The bill isn't necessary for two reasons: first, it imposes additional constraints on the prime minister and those responsible for negotiations with Syria, which are important to Israel," he told the Knesset plenum during a discussion on the proposed law. "A law like this also gives a bad impression to the world, as though Israel does not want peace."

The second reason, continued Barak, is that "a referendum is a complicated constitutional matter, which stands to block progress."

Opposition and Kadima leader Tzipi Livni voted against the bill, saying that the people of Israel could not make decisions in place of the government they themselves had elected.
The referendum has not been passed into law yet. It passed a first reading in the previous Knesset and then it was suspended because of the elections. What Wednesday's vote did was to get it back on the agenda. Now it has to pass second and third readings. Still, the fact that it passed so overwhelmingly is a good sign.

As to Barak's comments, the bill shows that Israelis insist on controlling their own destiny and will make sure politicians like Barak won't give them a bad deal for an illusory 'peace' as he tried to do in 2000.

As to Livni's comments, when we can elect the Knesset directly, we can discuss whether it can make existential decisions for us. Nothing the Knesset has done in the last 20 years justifies entrusting it with those decisions. At least we won't sell our country for a Mitsubishi like some Knesset members did.


At 6:05 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

It would be better to prohibit the surrender of sovereign territory to the enemy. Israel has such a law on its books but it has never been enforced. And would the Israeli elite actually bring a "peace agreement" that surrendered territory to a national referendum? If you believe they will ever do it, I have a Western Wall in Jerusalem's Jewish Quarter to sell to you.


Post a Comment

<< Home