MK Nissim Ze'ev (Shas) said Thursday that the Referendum Law that passed in the Knesset Wednesday night will not have the desired effect, and rather than making it more difficult for the government to cede land in peace deals, it will make it easier to do so.
The Referendum Law stipulates that a 51% majority in a national referendum will be enough to mandate a decision to cede land that is presently under Israeli sovereignty, after the Knesset votes in favor of a "peace deal" invloving such concessions. Ze'ev thinks that the threshold for mandating the ceding of land should have been set at 80% or so, because “if you take into account the Arabs, the political left and half of the political center, then you have abandoned Jerusalem; the majority will support its devision.”
"A referendum is the wrong medicine for the disease and the disease will only spread,” the veteran parliamentarian warned. “We are, in effect, transferring the democratic decision from the Knesset to the public.”
Ze'ev said that while there is a consensus in the Knesset against dividing Jerusalem, most of the Israeli public currently supports dividing the Holy City. “We should have done it the opposite way,” he explained. “The people should decide first and the Knesset should then decide if it is willing to adopt the people's decision.”
“This is a mistake by the political right, and I, as a supporter of the Land of Israel, am following it with concern,” warned Ze'ev. “One day this law will work against us and not for us. On this day, we have cast doubt, not only about Judea and Samaria, but also about the Golan Heights and Jerusalem.”