Israel: Why A Referendum?

In its article “Cabinet approves referendum bill on relinquishing territory” the Times of Israel says

If approved by Knesset, law would require the government to win public approval to give up sovereign land to Palestinians

Some may see the proposed referendum as an effort by Netanyahu to slow down the peace process.

I am not so sure.

For peace to happen, there must exchange of land for peace, based on the Clinton Parameters. This is something which I have mentioned time and again, and believe in. In fact its one of the main reason why I voted for Meretz in the last Israeli elections.

However we can not avoid the fact that every time Israel has returned land, initially there has been a spike in terror activities. This happened during Oslo and when Israel vacated Gaza. So in case there are terror attacks by Palestinian terrorists again in middle of peace talks or evacuations, the Prime Minister, whoever he/she may be will need the backing of the public to be able to continue with the peace talks. Or he may find that he/she will have to target the terrorists while continuing with talks. The results of a referendum (if favorable) would give them the backing to do so.

There  is also the distinct possibility that during evacuations or peace talks, extremist Israeli may try to kill Israeli soldiers, peace activists or even politicians (again). I have heard time and again from experts that unlike the evacuations in Gaza, large-scale evacuations in the West Bank could lead to terror attacks against Israeli soldiers or peace activists by Israeli citizens. That there is a distinct possibility that there could be deaths.  A referendum and the backing of the public for peace will support government efforts to isolate the extremist groups in this country and to punish the terrorists with force and public backing.

I support a national referendum for peace in Israel.

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