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A really democratic referendum about settlements and disengagement


The demand of settlers and settler advocates to hold a referendum about evacuating the Gaza settlements has returned.

"Why not make decisions democratically?" argue the proponents of referendum. The innocent argument hides a few catches. Catch Number 1 is that referendum advocates have already been muttering that only a 60 percent or two thirds majority will be enough to ratify the evacuation, since it is an "important question" or, more obnoxiously, in order to neutralize the vote of Israeli Arabs. They conveniently ignore the fact that all Israeli citizens, Druze, Arabs and Jews, are paying for the settlements from our taxes, and Israeli citizens of all ethnic groups are defending the settlements. Catch Number 2 was noted by Ha'aretz newspaper. Though a majority of Israelis support evacuating the settlements, the minority that oppose the move feel much more strongly about it. Let's face it, nobody really wants to give up a bit of territory, and not many people may go out of their way to vote for it - unless they did reserve duty in Gaza.

The settler advocates argue that if evacuation is approved in a referendum they will move out without resistance. Catch Number 22 is that religious fanatics have always told us that religious law is above democracy, so if the referendum contradicts the rulings of the rabbis, they will probably say it is null and void. Nonetheless, I say, let us have a referendum, but let us construct it democratically and make sure that people are aware of the real choices. In a democracy, overturning the decision of a government or ruler, like overturning the veto of a US president is an important question, so the decision to stop the disengagement program of the government should require an absolute majority of all eligible voters. To make people aware of the real alternatives, the questions in the refendum should be:

1 - Do you agree to unilateral evacuation of the Gaza settlements and bilaterally negotiated concessions for a peace settlement? OR

2 - Do you agree to the total diplomatic and economic isolation of Israel, including an end to US support and aid, and the prospect of fighting an endless war against the Palestinians and against virtually the entire world?

Those are the real choices. I am confident an informed citizenry will choose the correct alternative.

Ami Isseroff
New resource at MidEastWeb -
Hebrew-Arabic mini-Dictionary - Hebrew and Arabic are sister Semitic languages. Here is a list of some of the similar words in both languages, to remind us that we are close cousins in culture and in origins.

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Original text copyright by the author and MidEastWeb for Coexistence, RA. Posted at MidEastWeb Middle East Web Log at http://www.mideastweb.org/log/archives/00000331.htm where your intelligent and constructive comments are welcome. Distributed by MEW Newslist. Subscribe by e-mail to mew-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. Please forward by email with this notice and link to and cite this article. Other uses by permission.

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