Analysis: Why not a referendum on West Bank

It is highly likely partial, complete evacuation of settlements will be brought to referendum in case of peace deal.

July 26, 2013 01:18
1 minute read.
A stop sign is seen outside a West Bank Jewish settlement

A stop sign is seen outside a West Bank Jewish settlement. (photo credit: Reuters)


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Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett and his Bayit Yehudi party oppose the evacuation of settlements, as does coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu) who submitted the referendum bill along with two Bayit Yehudi MKs. So why doesn’t the bill include a referendum in a case where the government was about to evacuate part or all of the West Bank?

The real reason is that it would be too legally complex to do so, and the Attorney- General’s Office or the High Court would be more likely to shoot it down. The legal status of the West Bank and the government’s and court’s authority there are different than in sovereign Israel, and it would require a different kind of legislation.

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Also, on a practical level, just about any peace treaty signed with the Palestinians will have to be brought to a referendum, and such an agreement would, in all likelihood, include evacuating settlements.

If the peace treaty includes evacuating any part of east Jerusalem, it will have to go to a referendum. If it includes land swaps – meaning giving away parts of sovereign Israel in exchange for keeping large settlement blocs – it will have to go to a referendum.

The whole peace treaty will be brought to a referendum, not just the evacuation of sovereign lands.

Therefore, although the West Bank is not mentioned in the bill, it is highly likely that their partial or complete evacuation would be brought to a referendum if the government succeeds in reaching an agreement with the Palestinians.

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