Yesh Atid tables support for referendum on treaty

Without the support of Yesh Atid, there is no majority for the Bayit Yehudi bill, requiring a referendum on peace treaties.

May 6, 2013 22:18
1 minute read.
Yair Lapid addresses the Knesset.

Lapid addressing the knesset 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Bayit Yehudi suffered a political setback Monday when Yesh Atid decided not to support the immediate passage of a bill requiring a referendum on peace treaties.

Without the support of Yesh Atid there is no majority for the bill, even though it has the support of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Education Minister Shai Piron, Yair Lapid’s No. 2 in Yesh Atid, said the party’s decision was technical.

“There are no negotiations with the Palestinians now, so making a decision like this out of the blue would not be right,” Piron told The Jerusalem Post.

Yesh Atid MK Dov Lipman explained that the faction decided it was not time to support making a referendum bill into a Basic Law, which carries constitutional weight. He said the faction would reconsider if there will be a diplomatic process with the Palestinians.

The current law, proposed by coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu), requires a referendum on any treaty that includes giving up land under Israeli sovereignty, such as land swaps. The law would have to be changed to also require a referendum to give the Palestinian Authority control over more of Judea and Samaria.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who is in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians, welcomed Yesh Atid’s decision, saying that anyone who wants to advance the peace process needed to oppose the bill.

Levin said Yesh Atid made “an unfortunate decision that would only deepen rifts in the nation.”

Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.

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