Israeli Pols Argue over Referendum for 'Peace Deal'

Tzipi Livni thinks she's going to broker peace, but the aim of her Palestinian counterparts is to destroy the Jewish state. Photo: Tzipi Livni

JERUSALEM , April 30, 20013 – Justice Minister Tzipi Livni is livid these days. This is not because her other job, heading the government’s negotiations with the Palestinians, is a joke. No, she is one of those la-la-land residents who still believe that there are “two sides” to the story of an imminent “two-state solution.”  So she is very proud to have been given the position as chief “peace” broker.

As usual, Livni is far angrier at her actual coalition partners in Israel than she is at her imaginary cohorts in the Palestinian Authority.

Her latest huff came to the fore following reports in the Israeli press that Finance Minister Yair Lapid is considering supporting Economics Minister Naftali Bennett’s bid to legislate a national referendum ahead of a final-status deal with the P.A. Though Lapid supports a two-state solution and Bennett does not, he purportedly intends on discussing the matter with the members of his party, Yesh Atid. If they do not agree to join forces with Bennet’s Habayit Hayehudi party on this matter, legislation for a referendum has little chance of passing a Knesset vote.

Livni, who has turned mounting her high horse into an art form, gave an interview to Army Radio on Sunday in which she attacked the very idea of putting any peace deal with the Palestinians to a public vote. “The general elections are the true referendum,” she said. In other words, Israelis went to the polls on January 22 and had their say. That constituted a mandate for their elected officials to make all the decisions.

This is a valid point, but not one that Livni has any right to make. In 2000, when she was a member of Knesset from the Likud party, she supported a bill that would require a public referendum ahead of any Knesset-approved deal with the P.A.

But Livni’s flip-flopping does not make her unique on the Israeli political scene. The parliamentary system lends itself to endless wheeling, dealing and loyalty shifting. It is thus that Livni, whose Hatnua party only won six seats in the elections, was able to land herself the Justice portfolio. While Prime Minister Netanyahu was having difficulty forming his coalition, Livni rushed in to sign an agreement with him – the very thing she refused to do four years ago. That was when she headed the Kadima party and garnered more seats than Netanyahu, yet was unable to form a coalition. When Netanyahu became prime minister, Livni was so sour that she preferred to head the opposition than become part of a national unity government. Then, when she was ousted as Kadima leader, instead of taking a break from politics as she claimed she was going to do, she formed a new party. Her poor showing in January caused her to come knocking at Netanyahu’s door.

Ironically, the main reason she was able to get away with this little maneuver was that Bennett was busy trying to remain firm about some of the promises he had made to his own voters, which gave Livni the opportunity to swoop in and get a good offer from Netanyahu.

Subsequently, when Bennett and Netanyahu did sit down to negotiate, Bennett demanded that any deal with the Palestinians be brought to a public referendum. Netanyahu must have agreed to this condition. Livni must be aware that he did. Her outrage, then, is as disingenuous as it is hypocritical.

Such is the nature of politics; nothing new there.

Nor is anything new with regard to the willingness of the P.A. to resume peace talks with Israel. This is just as well, since such talks have never led to anything other than war against Israel. P.A. And President Mahmoud Abbas is much more interested in reconciling with Hamas, his terrorist brethren who run Gaza, than in making peace with Israel.

Livni may think that she is going to lead negotiations for a two-state solution, but the aim of her Palestinian counterparts is to destroy the Jewish state. That this fact even warrants repeating is pathetic, particularly in light of the radical Islamization of the entire Middle East.

It is the refusal on the part of the likes of Livni to recognize the current reality that is at the root of Bennet’s insistence on a referendum. It is also, however, the reason that such a referendum will not become necessary.

Livni should save her breath for a gas mask and her rage for the rebuke of the Palestinians.

This article first appeared in Israel Hayom (

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Ruthie Blum

 Ruthie Blum is a pull-no-punches, conservative, Israeli-American columnist for Israel Hayom,  and the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’”

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