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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘referendum’

Cabinet Approves Referendum Bill

Sunday, July 28th, 2013

The Israeli cabinet approved a bill that would require a referendum on any deal with the Palestinian Authority that would involve relinquishing sovereign Israeli land. The bill does not include Judea or Samaria, which have not yet been annexed, unlike the Golan and parts of Jerusalem after it was liberated.

The bill will now go to the Knesset for a vote.

The vote on releasing Arab terrorists was postponed, after Netanyahu saw that he didn’t have the support to pass it at this point.

Why Bibi Wants a Referendum

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Here is a good example of why Americans are misled about Mideast issues. In today’s local paper, I came across a  story headlined “Israelis may vote on peace deal.” It began as follows:

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israel’s premier announced Monday he is fast-tracking legislation that would allow him to put any peace deal with the Palestinians to a national referendum – an apparent attempt to silence hard-liners in his party and coalition government. …

Netanyahu said Monday that a referendum is necessary to prevent a rift in Israeli society. Polls have suggested a majority of Israelis support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, but many groups are vehemently opposed, including hard-liners among Israel’s West Bank settlers. [my emphasis]

The impression given is that although a majority of Israelis favor an agreement with the Palestinian Authority (PA), the PLO-controlled Palestinian ‘government’, to withdraw from most of Judea and Samaria and perhaps eastern Jerusalem, and turn them over to become a Palestinian state, the peace process is being stymied by “hard-liners.”

The truth does not remotely resemble this. A majority of Israelis know that the PA has little support from the residents of the areas that it controls and none at all in Gaza, where 40% of the Palestinian Arabs live. They also know that the security consequences of a withdrawal from the territories would be unacceptable, and that while the PLO is sincere about wanting to get Israel out of the territories, it is not sincere about making peace.

The poll results mentioned in the story are based on questions like this: “Would you favor the establishment of a peaceful Palestinian state alongside Israel?” Of course a majority of Israelis would agree! Who doesn’t want peace? But at the same time, most realize that under today’s circumstances, an Israeli withdrawal would lead to anything but a peaceful state. They have the continuing example of Gaza, in case they forget what a sovereign Palestinian state is like.

In addition, they know that the gaps between Israel and the PLO on such issues as refugees, Jerusalem, borders, etc. are as wide as ever — perhaps even wider than in 2000 or 2008, when an agreement could not be reached. They know that the PLO has preferred to get its way be manipulating the UN, the Europeans and the US, rather than in meaningful negotiations with Israel in which they might have to give something up. They know that the PLO has avoided talks for years by placing impossible preconditions on them. So they understand that talks are most likely only a way to pressure Israel to make concessions without much chance of success.

And they know that the PLO has sponsored terrorism against Jewish civilians consistently since its beginnings, and that terrorism generally increases when negotiations are taking place. They know that the PA never lets up on its incitement, or on its glorification of the most vicious mass murdering terrorists as heroes.

They know that many of the 118 prisoners that are about to be released as a good-will gesture to bring the Palestinians to the table have murdered Jews for political reasons, and that they will return home to hero’s welcomes. They will comprise a direct affront to the honor of Israel and the Jewish people, demonstrating that we are too weak to punish the murderers of our brothers, sisters and children.

Recent bad ideas, like Oslo and the Gaza withdrawal, were implemented without public approval. Oslo was dropped on Israelis after secret maneuvers by politicians who did not represent them, and after they elected a Prime Minister who opposed a Palestinian state (and who, even after Oslo, opposed withdrawing from much of the territories and opposed granting full sovereignty to the proposed Palestinian entity).

In the case of Gaza, Ariel Sharon held a referendum among members of his own Likud party, 65% of whom rejected his plan — which he put into effect anyway, even after saying that he would respect the views of party members!

If there were a referendum on any proposed agreement with the PA, these are the considerations that would be taken by ordinary Israelis who are not politicians, media personalities or academics. It is hard to imagine that an agreement like the ones that were rejected by the Arabs in 2000 and 2008 would stand a chance among the general public today.

Why Islamists Always ‘Win’ in Fair Elections

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

I must quote extensively from a MEMRI analysis of the Egyptian referendum on the new constitution because it shows so vividly how politics work in the Arabic-speaking world today, especially when voting is involved.

First, the analysis presents the pro-constitution camp that is the Islamists. They coordinate their efforts and launched:

“A massive joint campaign aimed at persuading the public to endorse the constitution. This campaign includes holding conferences and symposia across Egypt; training thousands of Muslim Brotherhood activists to promote the constitution, some of whom are even going door to door, according to reports; and also recruiting mosque preachers and satellite channels in the efforts to persuade the public. Especially prominent in this campaign are the attempts to appeal to the average citizen and to impress upon him the economic and social advantages of supporting the constitution.”

Now, what about the opposition to the Islamists, those who might be called moderates?

“In contrast to the unified pro-constitution camp, the opposition organizations that oppose the constitution, headed by the National Salvation Front, have been inconsistent and uncertain, especially in deciding whether to boycott the referendum altogether or to merely urge the citizens to vote against the constitution. Only on December 12, three days before the start of the referendum, did the National Salvation Front officially declare that it would participate in the referendum (on certain conditions) and vote `no.’ The oppositionists’ efforts to persuade the public mainly took the form of online campaigns on social networks, as well as flyers and pamphlets distributed in the streets.”

In other words, it is no contest. One might add that in Tunisia, Syria, and other countries (including non-Arab Turkey) as well as Egypt most of the time, moderates are not united or disciplined. They are also more poorly funded and more naïve about how to operate politically than the Islamists. The Islamists, or at least some of them (and that’s all that’s necessary) are prepared to use intimidation and violence; the moderates not.And that’s all in addition to having the advantage of appealing to a very powerful, deep-seated religious belief held by the majority. Even though there are unIslamist and even anti-Islamist interpretations of Islam they are not clearly and systematically articulated to counter the Islamist version.

Don’t get me wrong. The anti-Islamists have lots of courage. They are also highly motivated. They feel they are losing their country and know that if they stand up and oppose Islamist regimes they face potential persecution, even death, threats to their family and to the loss of their property.

The problem is that they have no backing from their counterparts in the West, either governments or all but a few non-government organizations. Students don’t demonstrate on their behalf. They don’t own much of the local mass media and are divided by ideological views. Some are not really moderate politically but are Marxists or radical Arab nationalists. And in many cases they lack practical political experience. In short, they have a tremendously uphill battle, as I documented in my book, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East.

Consequently, the extremists almost inevitably win. But, you might ask, perhaps the West will help the moderates to redress some of this imbalance? Absolutely not. The moderates don’t have a fair shot or a fair chance, to use phrases popular with America’s president.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/why-islamists-always-win-in-fair-elections/2012/12/16/

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