Photo Credit: Pierre Terdjman/ Flash90
Despite promises, Sharon's expulsion of Gush Katif Jews was done without a national referendum. The expulsion did not even receive 50% of the Knesset members' votes but was passed instead with a simple majority.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that if a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians, it would have to receive approval through a national referendum.

Netanyahu said Israel is entering the talks honestly, with the hope that they will be conducted in a responsible and realistic way, and, at least in the early stages, with discretion.


He added that the negotiations are not going to be easy, but emphasized that renewing the political process is a vital Israeli interest. He said Israel would have to strike a balance between preventing the creation of a binational state and the creation of yet another terrorist state under the influence of Iran.

Netanyahu pointed out that Israel’s negotiations partners must also offer concessions that would allow the Jewish state to maintain its security and national interests.

Several government ministers, including those from Netanyahu’s own Likud-Beiteinu faction have expressed their objection to the release of Palestinian terrorist from prison as part of the renewing negotiations.

Minister Israel Katz from Likud said that while he is pleased with the renewed talks, he would vote against releasing murderers, once the issue is brought up to a cabinet vote. Katz added that he also objects to the creation of a Palestinian state. Still, Katz sees the reopening of talks as a strategic achievement for Israel, which would afford it a better maneuvering ability.

Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home said he could not figure out how the Americans are demanding that Israel release murderers, while insisting on keeping Jonathan Pollard imprisoned.

Despite promises similar to Netanyahu’s, Israel has never had a referendum on any issue whatsoever. Indeed, the most recent episode of uprooting thousands of Jews from their homes in Gaza was accompanied by a campaign of deception on the part of then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over the issue of a referendum.

Initially, there was a consensus, at least on the right, that a major decision like the uprooting of an entire Jewish enclave would certainly have to go through a referendum. This seemed even more necessary after Sharon had been unable to receive approval from the majority in the Knesset for the move. In February, 2005, the Gush Katif decision was passed by a vote of 59 to 40, with 4 abstentions, not a resounding support for such a move.

Sharon refused to take the law to a national referendum, but did present it to the Likud membership for a party-wide vote. There Sharon’s proposition suffered a humiliating defeat, 59.5 to 39.7 percent, which prompted his desertion from his own party and the creation of the Kadima party.

Netanyahu, however, will not have Sharon’s wiggle room once a treaty is signed. A law passed by the Knesset in 2010 requires that any political deal that would require a retreat from disputed territories would have to be approved by a nation-wide referendum.

It’s getting interesting.


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Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth,,, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


  1. That is the way, that is a begining for a full democracy, but let see to make a federation unstead 2 states, that is one federated state with many cantons, for example, like in Switzerland: Galilea with capital Safed, Haifa-Haifa, Tel Aviv-Tel Aviv, Jerusalem-Jerusalem, Palestina-Ramallah, Gaza-Gaza, North Neguev-Bersheva, South Neguev-Eilath, for Samaria and Judea could have own capitals or to be part of Palestina, the country name will stay Israel and the capital Ber Sheva, that is only a idea, at the begining would be very dificult but posible, important at the end to be a healthy country with good education, health, housing, live almost like Switzerland.

  2. This is God’s land. God allow’s no one to give it away, even for a peace deal. Iran continues unwavering on it’s march in the development of nuclear weapons and Assad the dictator of Syria is still in power. Current intelligence seems uncertain of when Iran will get the bomb and Israel cannot afford to gamble with this. Assad of Syria has allegedly used chemical weapons against his own people and has targeted Tel-Aviv with his missiles. If this situation does not drastically change soon for the better, I believe the war in Isaiah Chapter 17 will likely take place. Damascus Syria would be destroyed. The worlds economy would likely collapse as a result and could usher in a one world government movement. I wrote a small 6 page book that outlines what I believe the Bible states will take place soon as well as the potential trends I see at this time. I don’t accept donations and it’s free. It’s a short read. I encourage you to have a look:

  3. Your well meaning ideas, unfortunately, cannot really help, Esteban.

    The reality in the Holy Land cannot in any way, be compared to the diverse groups in Switzerland that have long gotten along.

    The only shred of relation to this comparison would be a federation with Jordan, and exactly because it would contribute to stability it is out of the question on the Arab side.

    Good will with the Palestinians is not at play in 2013.

    Instead Israel will need to negotiate knowing the opposite.

    That is why the security of the Jordan valley, and the hilltops that dominate the countries airport, are so important.

  4. In my opinion question about Gaza should be solved at early stage during coming negotiations. Gaza’s isolation was imposed originally to delegitimize and undermine Hamas’ leadership. However Hamas’ control grew tighter. Though Israel and Egypt allow limited imports into Gaza, the economy of Gaza largely relies on illicit trade that flourishes via an alternative “tunnel economy.” This second economy increases ordinary Gazans’ reliance on Hamas rule, which most would prefer to see end. Making peace deal only between Israel and the PA does not solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and ignoring Gaza further incentivizes Hamas to oppose peace with Israel. So a new reintegration strategy is needed instead of isolation, it should reconnect Gaza with the West Bank to lessen Hamas’ grip on Gaza. For example Israel should allow more trade from its territory and also reopen trade from the West Bank. Gazans should be allowed to open an export corridor through Israel. Allowing goods to flow between Gaza and the West Bank will change Gaza’s economy away from illicit trade with Egypt and strengthen more moderate circles in Gaza.
    P.S: More in Resumption Of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks –

  5. You are wright, the federation could be Jordan, perhaps Lebanon, only the idea wich I put is could be a solution, in Switzerland had to face different cultures and lenguages and took long time to get together untill the begining of the 19th hundred when my grandparents came to Switzerland from Poland, also you can you see what is happening in Europe, they still are not a federation and they have a lot of problems to solve it before to get to be a federation, also USA they had a civil war, this all is a matter of time, in other side I don't see for Israel a 2 solution.

  6. If it is truly a National referendum and the Israelis vote to give up more land to the Arabs and allow them to have another terrorist state a block away, whose only objective will be to destroy Israel, then they will have engineered their own demise for the umpteenth time. The ultra Orthodox will get their wish and whatever Jews are left will have to wait for the Messioch to save them since they refuse to save themselves.
    Jerome S. Kaufman

  7. It is psychotic that after Obamba and the USA admin pushed morsi and the Islamist Muslim brotherhood to lead Egypt then the couragus Egyptians rejected this, that's Israelis should listen to and trust Obamba and the USA as having the interests if the citizens of the Middle East in mind. The support anything that will properuate conflict and war so they will game from it in weapon sales, oil control. Their goal is to destabilize.
    Only Moshe Feiglin can ignore them. Bibi is their bitch just like Morsi was to them.

  8. The problems are the ARABS .. Not the Israels. You could give them all the land it would go fallow and they would still threaten dewstruction of the Jews….It amazes me We demand from the Civilized Partner and Cow Tow and Bow to the UNCIVILIZED Partner in this.. SHAME I HAVE ALL MY LIFE.. If the Peace is to be.. WHY IS NO DEMAND MADE TO .. REMOVE THE TREATS OF Death and Violance from the SIDE THAT ACTS AS IF A INJUSTICE HAS OCCURED……

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