Report: Netanyahu Pushes Referendum on Peace Deal
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is backing a call for a national referendum on any final agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority regarding Judea and Samaria, according to Channel 2 news.
MK Ofir Akunis (Likud), a close associate of Netanyahu's, has written up a proposed law that would require a referendum. Netanyahu reportedly saw the bill on Friday and gave it his full support.
Earlier in the month Netanyahu said that he had not ruled out the possibility of a national referendum if Israel and the PA were to succeed in reaching an agreement within a year.
Political analysts suggested that the law could help Netanyahu keep his coalition together by reassuring the political Right that no territories will be ceded without the people's approval.
Netanyahu has met twice with PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and with senior United States diplomats. Talks between Netanyahu and Abbas focused on “core issues” such as the borders of a potential PA state in Judea and Samaria and the status of Jerusalem. Netanyahu's conditions, security and recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, were not considered "core" issues.
Abbas has threatened to leave the talks over the resumption of construction for Jews in Judea and Samaria on September 26. He had demanded a building freeze before starting talks. Netanyahu unilaterally froze building for Israeli families in the region for 10 months in an unprecedented move aimed at bringing the PA to the negotiating table, however the PA waited until the freeze was about to end to use its continuation as a condition for continuing the fledgling talks.