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      Shimoni: Even After a Referendum, the Struggle Will Continue

      Gaza Coast Regional Council head Avner Shimoni, who was at yesterday's meeting between the Prime Minister and the Yesha leaders, spoke with Arutz-7 last night.
      First Publish: 10/19/2004, 3:40 PM / Last Update: 10/18/2004, 5:15 PM

      Gaza Coast Regional Council head Avner Shimoni, who was at yesterday's meeting between the Prime Minister and the Yesha leaders, spoke with Arutz-7 last night. Responding indirectly to Sharon's claim that the Yesha leaders do not represent the Israeli public more than he does, Shimoni said, "It's not just the Yesha Council asking for a referendum. It starts with Bibi Netanyahu, and Limor Livnat, and most of the Likud, and President Katzav, and polls showing 70% of the populace telling him to receive a mandate on this issue from the people. Under such circumstances, I think we are justified in expecting the Prime Minister not to think that he is the nation."

      Shimoni said that he is not at all confident of the results of such a referendum: "We don't feel that it's in our pocket, and there is what to fear. But we fear even more a civil war that appears to be bearing down upon us. Just look at the recent developments [the calls upon soldiers to refuse orders, and the counter-calls - ed.]. Amidst all this chaos, it is appropriate to try to instill such order. I personally am very much against a referendum on the Land of Israel, but if there is no choice, this could be the tool by which the Prime Minister could gain some legitimacy for his otherwise illegitimate acts."

      Asked what would be his own reaction in case the nationalist camp loses in the referendum, Shimoni said, "The question should really be what Sharon will do in case he loses, based on his response to the Likud party referendum... For us, it's a very hard question. We will continue to fight, with all the democratic tools at my disposal, to protect our homes - but at least there will not be a civil war in the end."