Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."



Kick More Jews Out, No Referendum In Israel
By Ariel Natan Pasko


Turning reality on its head, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on presenting
his new government to the Israeli Knesset recently, stated that the Jews
of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) endangered the State of Israel.
"The continuance of scattered Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria
endanger us," said Olmert.

Not Hamas\' genocidal suicide bombings mind you, nor Iran\'s threat to
vaporize Israel with its nukes.

Not the rapidly secularizing Israeli masses for whom being Jewish is
loosing all meaning; nor it\'s defeatist corollary, reflected so
eloquently by Olmert himself, speaking to the Israel Policy Forum in New York,
in June 2005, "We are tired of fighting. We are tired of being
courageous. We are tired of winning. We are tired of defeating our enemies."

What\'s the alternative, being slaughtered by Hamas? Only Jewish
"settlers" are a threat to Israel, according to Ehud Olmert.

In response to Olmert\'s charges, National Religious Party secretary
Shalom Jerbi said that Prime Minister Olmert\'s "Convergence" plan would be
dangerous to the State of Israel instead of saving it. "Uprooting
Jewish communities is not saving Zionism. It is the noose that strangles the
Jewish state," he said in reply to Olmert\'s speech.

The Council of Settlements in Judea and Samaria (The Yesha Council)
released a statement, "Olmert plans to endanger the State of Israel by
handing Hamas strategically vital areas, this should worry not only the
residents of Judea and Samaria but every citizen of Israel. Olmert and
his immature government are seeking to present Hamas with Israelís last
bulletproof vest."

I would add that by strengthening Hamas, the world should be concerned.
The connections between, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Iran, Hizbollah,
al-Qaeda, and the Global Jihad Network have been reasonably proven.

Interestingly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas,
told the Hebrew newspaper "Maariv" the same day as Olmert spoke in the
Knesset, that he would try to get around the Hamas government by
presenting a referendum to PA voters, to ratify or decline a peace pact with
Israel. Abbas called on the Olmert government to renew negotiations
with him.

Yet the Hamas-led PA called Olmert\'s Knesset speech, launching his new
administration a "declaration of war." Referring to Olmert\'s plan of
retaining some Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, "settlement
blocs," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said, "There is nothing new in his
speech." The spokesman added that "Arafat recognized Israel, but was not
made a partner and that therefore the problem is not with us but with
Olmert. We will continue to defend ourselves against Israeli terror and
the occupation."

Taking a page out of Joseph Goebbels\' propaganda lessons, Olmert
continues to propagate the "big lie" that Kadima\'s election "victory" gave
him the authority to carry out wide ranging expulsions of more Jewish
"settlers," promising again in the Knesset, not to hold a referendum on
the issue.

Olmert speaking via satellite to an Anti-Defamation League convention
not long ago said, "I wanted the elections to be a referendum on the
plan I presented." Olmert added, Kadima has a mandate, and he intends to
use it effectively in order to implement his "Convergence" plan and
"create a new reality in the Middle East."

No matter what Olmert says, no matter what they tell you, no matter how
much they lie, know, the elections were not a referendum for expelling
more Jews from their homes. Little was discussed about "Olmert\'s plans"
during the election. Contradictory voices came out of Olmert\'s own
party, stating there were no plans for future unilateral expulsions of
settlements.

I can\'t understand why people like Benjamin Netanyahu, Nadia Matar
("Women in Green") and others on the right (before the recent election)
described it as a referendum on the withdrawal-expulsion issue. They
helped Olmert reinforce the idea.

Referenda without clear policy guidelines, without specifics (who
exactly is going to get expelled, from where, and how much or how little
compensation are they going to get?), simply are not carried out like
this.

For starters, let\'s look at Olmert\'s statement about the election being
a referendum (don\'t misunderstand, I categorically deny that any
particular generation of Jews has the right to give away parts of the G-D\'s
Promised Land).

Kadima (his party) won only 29 out of 120 seats, or 24% of the vote.
All the other parties that favor territorial compromise (Likud,
Lieberman\'s Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and UTJ, Meretz, Labor, the Arab parties) do
so only within a negotiated settlement with the Palestinian Authority.
They claim to be against a unilateralist policy, like Ehud "following
in Sharon\'s footsteps" Olmert is promoting.

Olmert\'s "Referendum" was a complete flop. He lost it. Olmert\'s
"Referendum" was roundly defeated by 76% of the voting public.

Olmert presented his new coalition of 67 seats to the Knesset, but of
the parties in Olmert\'s new coalition government, both Labor and Shas
(31 seats combined), are on record as opposing a unilateral expulsion of
Jews without an agreement with the PA. So what will happen to Olmert\'s
government, will it fall apart at the first sign of "Convergence"?

When Ariel Sharon began promoting his Gaza Expulsion Plan,
euphemistically called "Disengagement," opponents called for a referendum.
Ministers in his government (including Olmert) spoke out against holding one.
The then Minister of National Infrastructure, Yosef Paritzky claimed it
contravened the democratic principles of the country. The Justice
Minister at the time, Yosef Lapid, expressed his opposition to the
referendum idea, "Such a move is not part of our democratic process." Both
politicians had a point; modern Israel has never held a referendum.

A little history about the call for referenda in Israel...

Former Prime Minister Menachem Begin - then a Knesset Member - in the
early 1950\'s opposed the deal that then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion
worked out with West Germany, to accept reparations after the
Holocaust. Begin suggested a national referendum to allow the people to decide
whether to accept them or not, but Ben-Gurion refused. In February 1958,
Menachem Begin again suggested using referenda to decide on various
issues in the young Israeli democracy. Ben-Gurion\'s ruling party, Mapai,
responded, calling the proposal "Bonapartist, fascist and totalitarian."

Certainly, referenda are neither fascist nor totalitarian.

Referenda are used in many democratic states around the world to allow
the citizens to directly decide important issues. For example,
referenda have been used by European countries to decide on whether to join the
European Union, or once in, to adopt the European Monetary System and
replace their national currency with the Euro. Many states in the US use
referenda for a whole host of issues, and the constitutional process of
adopting a new state constitution itself can include a referendum from
voters.

Is there a more important issue today, pressing the people of Israel,
than the issue of territorial integrity or withdrawal from parts of it\'s
historic homeland, the biblically promised, Land of Israel?

But, Olmert\'s "Referendum" is more reminiscent of the "electoral
process" of former totalitarian regimes (vote yes or no) such as Saddam
Hussein\'s Iraq or the Former Soviet Union under Brezhnev.

Olmert\'s claim that the election was a referendum on his Unilateral
Expulsion Plan, now being called "Convergence," bolstered by Netanyahu\'s
and Matar\'s politically immature pre-election statements, just goes to
show how many Israelis live in La La Land.

Everyone in the world knows that the Land of Israel belongs to the
Jewish People. Christianity and Islam are built on Judaism and both
recognize this fact. The nations of the world, through the League of Nations
and later the United Nations gave its stamp of approval also.

For those who say "Israeli settlements" are a violation of
"International Law" or the Geneva Convention, they simply don\'t know what they\'re
talking about. The League of Nations\' "Palestine Mandate," recognized
the right of Jews to "close settlement on the land," and no later UN
resolution has ever abrogated those rights. Even the 1947 Partition Plan
into Arab and Jewish states, left over 6,000 Jews in the proposed Arab
state and assumed that Jews would continue to live in the Arab state, as
Arabs would in the Jewish state.

By Divine Right, historical right, and internationally recognized law;
Jews have a right to settle, build homes and towns, and live in all
parts of their homeland, Israel, including the areas liberated in 1967.

The use of referenda to generally resolve issues in Israel is perfectly
democratic, it builds social solidarity and wide consensus, contrary to
the views of the "people\'s representatives". But on the issue of
territorial compromise and expulsion of Jews from their homes (such as
happened in Gaza/Northern Samaria and now what they want to do with more of
Judea/Samaria - the West Bank), something that gets to the heart of
Israel\'s national existence, and will negatively effect Jews living around
the world, even democracy has it\'s limits.

How many Americans would honor the outcome of a referendum in the US
(through elections or otherwise), to return the "Occupied Territories" to
Native American Indians, along with the concomitant expulsion of
millions of black, white, Asian, and Hispanic "settlers"?

There is no legitimacy to Olmert\'s Expulsion Plan, the nation of Israel
voted on it long ago, at Mt. Sinai.

Ariel Natan Pasko is an independent analyst & consultant. He has a Master\'s Degree specializing in International Relations, Political Economy, and Policy Analysis. He also has a degree in Jewish History & Thought. Pasko is also am member of the Board of Directors and a research associate of the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.
His articles appear regularly on numerous news/views and think-tank
websites, in newspapers, and can be read at:
www.geocities.com/ariel_natan_pasko

(c) 2006/5766 Pasko