Israel – New Referendum Law May Derail Further Already Derailed Hopes of Peace

Venerable Time writes that the new law will make peace even more difficult.

The new law requires that any withdrawal from Syria or East Jerusalem be subject to a referendum on which the public will vote in a referendum or be approved by two-thirds of the Israeli legislature. TIME says that this new law ‘lengthens the odds against the country’s conflicts being settled by negotiation’.

TIME further explains:

“East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights were occupied by Israel in the war of 1967, and its annexation of those territories is not recognized by any country, including the U.S. The U.N. deems Israeli settlement in both places as a violation of international law.”


“The Knesset vote was roundly condemned by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday and by the Syrian government, and its passage was criticized by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who said the law “won’t do anybody any good.” Opposition Kadima Party leader Tzipi Livni said the move was a sign of weak leadership on the part of Netanyahu. Restoring Syrian sovereignty over the Golan Heights has long been recognized as the only basis for a peace agreement with Damascus, while the Palestinians and their Arab backers insist that any Palestinian state must have its capital in East Jerusalem.”

It occurs to LSW that President Obama faces the same type of problem in his dealings with the U.S. Congress as he does in dealing with Israel – his attempts at negotiation are not just deflected but downright dismissed with a back of the hand. Both the right-wing Israeli government and Congressional Republicans (who are all right wing?) will not engage in any manner of conversation with the President whatsoever. When will he drop the pretense of negotiation or bipartisanship? He advances none of his concerns further and looks weak and ineffectual in the process. Maybe he should present his issues clearly and forcefully and do what he can to advance them and not bother trying to negotiate or talk together.

LSW forgot to mention that Wall Street bosses dismissed the President as well. Everyone with power who he tries to mollycoddle, turns their back and walks off as if the President of the U.S. does not warrant even a parting shot. Not good.

For a different perspective, Ami Kaufman, ‘Levantine-Anglo Journalist & Blogger’, writing on HuffPo, provides some interesting angles.

Such as:

“Let’s calm down, shall we? Saying that Knesset legislation has given a coup de grâce to the two state solution (TSS) is a gross misunderstanding of the Israeli political system. It’s almost like a kid telling his father he won’t be able to do his homework tonight because he lost his pencil. Yeah, Daddy’s gonna find you another pencil kiddo, don’t worry about it.”

A bit of comic relief from reality:

“And speaking of spinelessness, don’t forget our revered leader PM Netanyahu who has been bended backwards and sideways over and over again on much lesser issues, like taxes on vegetables.”

And, finally, the last two paragraphs demand to be quoted here:

“The TSS is indeed coming to an end, and if the unilateral declaration of independence by Palestine in August 2011 turns out to be a flop due to America’s weakness, then indeed the one-state solution may have to be considered more seriously — even though it will mean more bloodshed and a much longer delay in granting Palestinians their due civil rights (haven’t they waited enough already?), not to mention scores of other issues that will make TSS negotiations over the refugee status or Jerusalem seem like a walk in the park.

But until that happens, let’s stop the gloating over a death pronounced too early and keep working for Palestinian statehood. And if you think now may be the time to start supporting a one-state solution — fine. But don’t let the fickle Knesset be the one to push you over.”

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