Analysis News

'Wave of Palestinian terror'? Not exactly

It’s pretty difficult to pinpoint anything resembling a starting point for the latest violence; prior to last week, Israeli forces killed 19 Palestinians since July, compared to four Israelis who were killed. The violence is neither unilateral nor arbitrary.

Damage after a bomb exploded on an Israeli bus in the Tel Aviv suburb of Bat Yam, December 22, 2013. A policewoman’s eardrums were damaged in the attempted attack. (Photo: Israel Police)

The latest escalation between Israel and the Palestinians has taken lives on both sides over the last week. The Israeli media is now describing the violence as a new “wave of Palestinian terror.” Commentators have said that it’s not clear yet whether this is a third Intifada, indicating an organized uprising, since the attacks appear to have been perpetrated by individuals. But they are unquestionably acts of terror.

Israeli media tells a very simple story: the attacks are happening to us unilaterally and unpredictably, their arbitrary nature makes life in Israel terrifying and fragile. The only possible explanation for the uptick in Palestinian violence, observed Israeli officials such as Police Commissioner Yochanan Danino and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, is that Palestinian extremists hate the peace negotiations currently underway.

Consider the main violent events over the last week. The IDF ambushed and killed two Palestinians on Thursday, December 19, in separate incidents that took place in Jenin and Qalqilya. The army told news agencies that the men were wanted for shooting at soldiers, which Palestinians dispute in at least one case.

The next day, Friday, December 20, IDF shot and killed a Gazan civilian and wounded his brother, both in their 20s. Ynet quoted the IDF spokesman saying the two had approached the fence in an attempt at sabotage, and did not respond to warnings. Haaretz later reported that the wounded brother said the two were collecting plastic and metal scraps. The report added that they were known in the neighborhood as having made their living collecting plastic and metal shards from the dumps. Garbage scrounging is a familiar source of income for some Palestinians, in the...

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The academic boycott of Israel: No easy answers

There are some strong arguments against the ASA’s recent decision to support an academic boycott of Israel. But are they adequate? 

Illustrative photo of boycott advocates. (Photo: Brian S /

Members of the American Studies Association (ASA) voted last week to endorse a resolution supporting an academic boycott of Israel, following a unanimous vote by the National Council of the ASA earlier this month.

The global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement might have seemed extreme and marginal when it was established eight years ago. But what seems extreme has a way of becoming mainstream if doesn’t go away. The boycott idea became impossible to ignore as international stars such as Elvis Costello began canceling shows in Israel. Legendary Pink Floyd band leader Roger Waters has been an outspoken advocate, causing hand-wringing among commentators who thought of themselves as liberal.

The past year, 2013, has seen significant victories for the boycott camp. Stephen Hawking bowed out of the Presidential Conference. Unrelated to the BDS movement, the EU issued guidelines to limit interaction with settlement enterprises. Now, the ASA decision makes it even harder to defiantly insist that only Israel is right and everyone else – cultural figures, intellectuals and policymakers – are all wrong.

Boycotting is a painful tool. But anyone who truly desires an end to the conflict and the occupation, who is not just paying lip service, must take this tactic seriously. Both sides of the academic and general boycott debate raise serious questions that I have not seen fully answered. Below are a few that I have grappled with.

Strong arguments against the ASA boycott

Hypocritical. America does evil things, systematically and on a larger scale. So do other countries. There is little moral, ethical or professional credibility to an organization that boycotts selectively, unless it can justify why this cause is more urgent or extreme than all others in the world. The response ASA released on this point is little help. Why not boycott Russia, which pours arms into Syria and has thereby contributed to over 100,000 deaths? Is Syrian blood less valuable or lower priority than Palestinian?

Backlash: Boycott could drive the Israeli and Jewish community to more extreme responses. The...

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Jerusalem expert attacked: 'No rock can move me to hate'

Daniel Seidemann, one of the country’s top experts on the politics of Jerusalem and a longtime activist who founded the NGOs Ir Amim and Terrestrial Jerusalem, was struck by a rock thrown through his car window on Saturday. He was wounded in the back of his head, requiring stitches. Danny has many colleagues and friends who, like me, were terribly saddened by the incident. Being who he is, Danny himself had many things to say that are characteristically insightful and sensitive. With his permission, I am re-posting the texts he wrote for status updates on social media.

Saturday, November 23.

This afternoon, I paid a working visit to a friend in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sur Bahir, barely a kilometer from my home. When we took leave of one another, I headed home in my car. I had the misfortune of ending up in a traffic jam in the center of the village, just as school was getting out.

I didn’t see it coming, but should have: I was a sitting duck. The rock was probably thrown at point blank range; it smashed the side window with enough force to leave a deep gash in the back of my head. I was fortunate: I did not lose consciousness, nor my sense of orientation. Thankfully, the traffic jam loosened up a bit. Within a minute or so I was out of danger and on my way to get treatment.

This ended with a few stitches and no serious damage (confirmed by a CT).

I come away from this day with a few insights. In the wake of the incident, I encountered about a dozen people who had to hear my story, from the first-aid clinic, to the police, to the emergency room and neurology department at Hadassah Hospital. All were pleasant and empathetic. All but two of them asked the same question: “what the hell were you doing in Sur Bahir?” So much for the undivided capital of Israel, where a Jewish Israeli visiting a Palestinian friend less than a mile away is a source of astonishment.

The two primary physicians who took care of me didn’t ask that question, not because they’re physicians, but because they’re Palestinian. The guy who stitched me up is an East Jerusalemite who studied medicine in Cairo. The neurologist is a Palestinian citizen of Israel. They knew exactly what brought me...

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'I am pro-Israel too': Reflections on +972's use of the term

The term ‘pro-Israel’ should mean anti-occupation, support for human rights, equality, democracy for all peoples under Israel’s control – not hard-line Zionism. Reflections and commentary on +972’s use of the term.

A right-wing Israeli activist yells at a left-wing Israeli activist in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Anne Paq/

My colleague Noam Sheizaf’s article about the addition of David Makovsky to the American negotiating team for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process carries the following headline:

‘A pro-Israel hawk to draft Kerry’s peace plan?’

The subheading reads, with some indignation:

‘That one must be a pro-Israeli Zionist in order to be eligible for the State Department’s Israel-Palestine team is indicative of the problem with U.S. policy in the region.’

I disagree with the heading and the subheading and with full respect for our editorial decisions, I decided to express my critique here.

The words “pro-Israel” mean simply to be supportive, or “for” Israel. Yet the term has been hijacked by a portion of Jews (including and perhaps primarily non-Israelis) who have anointed themselves defenders of the faith; they have unilaterally set the gold standard for everyone else in determining what supporting Israel means.

The meaning of pro-Israel, in the eyes of those Jewish-American organizations who often refer to themselves this way, is twofold: first, it involves being apologists for every policy of every Israeli government, and second, it is a permanent mission to prove that Palestinians are 1. Bloodthirsty, 2. Primitive and unready for peace or democracy – essentially, inferior 3. Sinister, all-powerful manipulators of global media, minds and public discourse 4. Politically incompetent. 5. Islamic jihadis, every last one. The camp that calls itself “pro-Israel” has added a third cause du jour of late – broad insistence on a maximalist, warmongering position vis-à-vis Iran.

So-called pro-Israel types are not only saying that these two/three are the best and only ways to support Israel. They are also saying that anyone who thinks differently is against Israel. Such a person who is also unfortunately Jewish or Israeli may be branded no less than a traitor, self-hater, lunatic, idiot or worse. The Israeli mainstream press has adopted the wrong definition wholesale.

Here is what permanent apologists for all Israeli...

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Israelis and Palestinians need a Nakba debate

Erstwhile negotiator and former Minister Yossi Beilin, in a New York Times op ed, has an idea for breaking the impasse on negotiations for a two-state solution. He suggests that Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to cement the consciousness of each side as the proper home for its people. Then Israel would undertake incentives for settlers to go back behind the Green Line, but those who stay in the West Bank would form the numerical basis for the number of Palestinian refugees who can return to Israel proper. Each side has incentive to keep the other low.

It’s refreshing to see original, outside-the-box thinking. The proposal is not just about policy, but it’s an ambitious attempt to address deep-seated symbolic elements that drive this conflict, by providing mutual affirmation of each side’s identity: Israel as a Jewish state, and the Palestinians as historic inhabitants of modern-day Israel, before their exile. The plan could potentially diminish Israel’s defensiveness as the main party providing hard, empirical concessions (i.e., giving up things it currently has in its control), by proposing mutuality of symbolic concessions.

But the policy itself is problematic. Despite a neat logical structure and putative fairness, one problem that Beilin acknowledges breezily in passing could loom very large on the Palestinian side: Palestinians are autochthonous, their displacement was a historic injustice and return in their view corrects a historic wrong. They are sure to deeply resent or even reject being equated with settlers likely to remain: the core who colonize or steal their land in the present and thus perpetuate wrongs. The policy could put them in a Faustian bind: return to ancestral villages, and they collaborate in continued thievery of their brethren’s land today.

Read: ‘Thanks for doing Zionism’s filthy work’- A response to Ari Shavit

On the Israeli side, Beilin glosses over the wall of resistance his proposal is likely to meet from mainstream Israelis, not only from the right. Many on the center and center left have little love for the kind of settlers who would stay in the West Bank. For them, the livelihood of extremist, even fanatical, settlers hardly justifies accepting the principle of Palestinian return which in itself they experience as an existential threat.

That’s why the refugee issue is one of the most intractable problems for Israelis. I’ve conducted or read surveys testing compromises that involve...

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Hamas textbook incitement and Israeli manipulation

Violence and incitement in education should be condemned on, and from every side. But clinging to and focusing only on the worst of the ‘other side’ can be even worse than incitement.

Palestinian children in Gaza use a computer. (Illustrative photo: Anne Paq/

The Hamas leadership in Gaza is replacing Palestinian Authority high school textbooks with its own, New York Times reported Monday. The Hamas textbooks, the story explains, promote militancy and a Hamas-tinted reading of history, Palestinian identity and the conflict.

The report is upsetting. The last thing this conflict needs is even more extreme, hard-line and distorted renditions of its history for any of the parties involved.

It is also disturbing because of the social and political context in which readers will interpret it. This in no way implies that the story shouldn’t be told. But the cheap political manipulation it will certainly feed can help no one.

Related: Palestinian textbook case closed, more trumped-up charges expected

Most Jews, Israelis and mainstream, even liberal supporters of Israel who read the article will be horrified. Many already believe that Palestinian Authority textbooks are hotbeds of hatred, stuffed full of Der Sturmer images of Jews, suffused with cults of death. In their mind’s eye, classrooms full of Palestinian kids intone, “death to Jews, throw Zionists into the sea,” every day.

Conservative Israelis and their supporters will be gleeful. The notion that Palestinian education is a factory for anti-Israel incitement has become a touchstone for their reluctance to advance peace, and fallback excuse when argued out of any other point. Incitement is dragged out to reinforce the permanence of Palestinian hostility. The fixation has become so deep in recent years that incitement now rivals the “no partner” mantra as a justification for continued, maybe permanent, occupation.

Israelis have become so wedded to the image of brainwashed Palestinian children that evidence to the contrary is actually threatening. When a comprehensive U.S. State Department-funded study meticulously examined the books on both sides and concluded that the level of incitement in Palestinian textbooks was not as awful as previously thought, the Israeli government went into defensive overdrive and rejected the study altogether – even though the authors concluded that the Israeli education system is more balanced than the...

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Jerusalem bill: A return to anti-democratic legislation?

By a 5-4 majority, a ministerial committee on Sunday approved a bill that proposes to require 80 Knesset members to approve any negotiations about the future of Jerusalem before the issue can even be discussed in peace talks, as reported by Israeli press.

It sounds like a technicality: the bill is far from passing as law, as it still requires a Knesset vote. Although members of the prime minister’s Likud-Beitenu party and Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party drove support in the committee, Netanyahu himself opposes the bill, reports Times of Israel. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who has emerged as the main pragmatist in this government on all things related to the two-state solution, has submitted an appeal to the cabinet against the bill. Still, there are a few things this moment indicates.

First, the committee vote could actually provide concrete signs of which ministers are prepared to block or open the door to negotiations over Jerusalem, which could mean more than all their bluster. Recall that in the past Yair Lapid has indicated a maximalist position on Jerusalem. Livni’s active opposition to the bill indicates some commitment to a solution, not just a process. As for Netanyahu, his opposition may possibly imply a slow thaw in his mind over the status of Jerusalem as part of negotiations and a solution. In recent statements he has omitted his normal insistence on Jerusalem as the eternal, undivided capital, which was not lost on observers like Ben Birnbaum, whose excellent piece in the New Republic tracks this development and gives context to Israeli leaders who have, over the years, made the shift to accepting a compromise on Jerusalem when they get serious about a two-state peace process. The most recent one, Birnbaum points out, was Likud’s own Tzachi Hanegbi.

Read more: Could a referendum on a peace agreement actually pass?

For two-state advocates, that’s the good news. Now the bad. The second observation is that this could herald the return of rotten legislation. During the previous Knesset session, a range of bills were proposed that threatened or outright violated democratic principles. The efforts bore strange and bitter fruit: the Nakba Law, the Boycott Law, the Acceptance Committee law, among others. Those that didn’t pass had their own dire impact on society by legitimizing the idea of legislating against minority groups, persecuting people for their political ideology...

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One state: Stop the hysteria and start thinking

By Lisa Goldman and Dahlia Scheindlin

(This article has been updated. See the addendum below.)

In a recent New York Times op-ed, a prominent American academic posits that the time for implementing a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict is now past. Ian Lustick, a professor of comparative politics at University of Pennsylvania, argues that after 20 years of failed negotiations, the two-state paradigm is a proven failure. The Americans, Palestinian Authority and Israeli government cling to what he calls the “two state illusion” out of vested interests that have nothing to do with the facts on the ground. It is time, he writes, to explore other options.

The article generated a predictable and tedious flurry of dramatic reactions from left and right, as if Lustick’s grand thesis were new. It is not, and neither are the clichéd (and hysterical) responses.

It seems that the talk of one state for Israelis and Palestinians is causing a stir now for two reasons—because the New York Times is a mainstream liberal media outlet; and because mainstream Israeli and non-Israeli Jews are now discussing it seriously.

Read more: Two state vs. one state debate is a waste of time, political energy

But the idea of one state for Israelis and Palestinians has not been radical for quite some time now. As Mairav Zonszein documents in a post for +972, Members of Knesset from across the political spectrum have turned away from two-state rhetoric, including former Knesset Speakers Reuven Rivlin (Likud), and Avraham Burg from the left (a former Labor MK and Chairman of the Jewish Agency). Today, these two men agree with far-right politician Danny Danon and Likud hard-liner Tzipi Hotovely that the two-state solution is no longer possible (and for the Right, it never was desirable). Meanwhile, Tel Aviv University’s Yehouda Shenhav, a Leftist who recently published Beyond the Two State Solution, insists that exploring alternatives to two states is Israel’s “moral obligation.”

In the United States, liberal Jewish supporters of a two-state solution responded to  Lustick’s op-ed as if it were a betrayal, perhaps because he is “one of their own” — a former chairman of the Association for Israel Studies, which he helped found partly to counter anti-Israel bias in Middle East studies. Meanwhile, the Right simply lumped him together with all the “depraved anti-Israel” left-wingers, because it views the Left’s version of...

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Demonizing and conflating Arabs and ultra-Orthodox

The debate over recent child subsidy cuts rests on empty myths and demagogic misinterpretations of Arabs and Haredim.  They are not simply parasites and they are not the same, but Israeli journalist Shmuel Rosner is upset and that’s what matters.

Haredi children. (Credit: Shutterstock)

It is seldom worth writing an entire blog post just to deconstruct that of another commentator, especially when terrible global events are more important than poor punditry. But reading Shmuel Rosner’s latest post in the New York Times, my heart sank. The piece isn’t just foolish – it actually contributes to the most divisive dynamics of Israeli society through demagoguery and mistakes (at best). As if we don’t have enough trouble.

Rosner aims to decode the politics surrounding recent budget cuts that chop Israel’s child subsidy benefits. The cuts, spearheaded by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, are predicated on the notion that Israel provides too much incentive for people to have children, and as a result, Arabs and Haredim have more kids than they can afford at the expense of joining the workforce. As an aside, it is curious to watch the social justice choir now thrashing Lapid for harming families, when that party campaigned on these kinds of promises and is presumed to have won handily among social protest types. But I am not analyzing the cuts themselves; rather the debate they have sparked (or rather, perpetuated), and Rosner is a classic example.

He explains that Israelis want a secular-Jewish and democratic Israel. So when the populations benefiting most from the subsidies turned out to be either non-secular or non-Jewish, he explains, the state is less enthusiastic about supporting so many children.

First, can we stop with the myth that Israelis desire an Ahad-Ha’am kind of Israel full of people who look like, well, Shmuel Rosner? Too many Israelis support non-democratic policies or principles (they are complicit if not explicit – most notably in allowing the occupation to continue), and the secular Jewish state has never, ever existed. So if people really want it, then this really isn’t a democracy. One of those pieces is missing.

But more importantly, Rosner’s explanation of the thinking behind the cuts rests on one of the laziest mantras in Israeli discourse – so wrong-headed it’s almost shocking....

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How the 'stop and frisk' ruling helps end one occupation

Police (Illustrative photo:

On Monday, a federal judge in New York ruled against the New York City Police Department’s “stop and frisk” practice (a policy not limited of course to New York). The judge found that the practice, as it has been applied, violates the constitutional rights of the plaintiffs.

Why does this matter here? Because the ruling chips away at systems that look too strong, too entrenched ever to be moved.

The situation of regular people with little power fighting a huge system that holds all the cards can creates immediate associations.  In recent years, prominent African-Americans have sometimes asked me how they can contribute to the Palestinian quest to end the occupation and live in freedom, from the experience of the American civil rights struggle.

It moves me when people who have fought a bloody and protracted struggle against an entire system devised to violate their human and civil rights see kinship and parallels with others fighting similar injustices. Decades later, these individuals look back and reach out their hands out to those still living under an intolerable regime built to constrain them.

Palestinians too have begun drawing on the amazing achievements of the American civil rights movement. The Freedom Rides held in 2011, the organization of popular resistance activities and unarmed demonstrations held every week for years against the route of the separation wall, are examples of techniques being borrowed and adapted.

I can also find comparisons from where I stand: in both societies, members of the dominant group who advocate for the rights of the “other” (the oppressed), face alienation and bitter hostility from the mainstream. Israeli Jews or American whites live in relative privilege, and most of them (at some point in history) either openly justify the system, or else quietly perpetuate the status quo. Both types often despise and even persecute members of their own group who fight for the “other.”

So victims on both sides of the struggle against oppression recognize the comparison. Activists agitating to change their own societies recognize that they face similar dynamics.

As of the ruling Monday, there’s another actor in the American racial divide that I wish would give some inspiration to our local conflict: the structures of injustice themselves.

In her book The...

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Did the Israeli public really flip-flop on peace?

A single question from a recent public opinion poll gave some the impression that Israelis are backing off support for a peace deal. A closer look shows little actual change in public support for a two-state solution, but highlights the danger of sensationalizing polls in an ultra-sensitive environment of negotiations. As usual, the devil is in the details.

Right-wing Israelis protest in Tel Aviv in 2011 (Photo: Dahlia Scheindlin)

The latest Peace Index survey by Tel Aviv University and the Israel Democracy Institute has only been out for 24 hours and already there is a minor uproar: The Israeli public has turned dramatically! The Times of Israel headline says so: 63 percent oppose a major West Bank pullout! How could this possibly be, asks TOI, when just a couple of weeks ago, 55 percent of Israelis supported a two-state deal in a referendum in a Haaretz poll?

This is the moment when one inwardly sighs at the need, yet again, to do damage control over poor understanding of public opinion research; journalists, after all, are not pollsters.

Here’s the first deep and mysterious reason why the two numbers seem so contradictory: They are two different questions. Haaretz asked:

And the Peace Index question cited in the headline was:

In response, 32 percent of Jews (the sample was 602, and it was conducted at the end of July) said they support this item, along with 72 percent of Arabs, bringing the Israeli total to 38 percent, with 55.5 percent total opposed. Two questions later, the respondents were asked, following the same introduction:

Here support among Jews was eight points higher than the previous question, or 40 percent, and 44 percent among the whole population (combining 69 percent support among Arabs). Fifty-two percent of the whole Israeli population is opposed – just an eight point gap. It’s not a radical change – actually this is remarkably consistent with the most recent survey by the Truman Institute at Hebrew University from June (also 601 people), showing 44 percent support and 51 percent opposed to “dismantling most of the settlements in the territories as part of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.”

Apparently withdrawal as a broad principle seems like a frightening concession (if...

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What went wrong? Learning from the mistakes of Oslo

Can Israeli, Palestinian and American negotiators learn from their mistakes in order to bring about a peaceful resolution to the conflict?

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. president Bill Clinton, and PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the signing of the Oslo Accord (photo: Vince Musi / The White House)

New negotiations offer hope like a quarter-drop of water splashed onto scorched and desiccated earth. How quickly such a drop can be absorbed as if it never was, and ground into the dust by the overwhelming forces of failure.

Once, hope went beyond a drop: in 1993, the Oslo Accords were a shining symbol of progress. After years of despair and death, it has become synonymous with failure for many. Yet it is the only model for agreements actually signed between Israel and the Palestinians.

As a service to the negotiating team, it seems worth asking an obvious question: what were the mistakes of the Oslo process? What should the current negotiators learn from them, and seek to avoid? I asked some Israelis and Palestinians close to the issue, and here are their first thoughts. They are not exhaustive, but it is interesting that they are linked and overlapping: the process, the agreement and the implementation all hold potential pitfalls, and the end-goal must set the immediate, short-term course.

1. Stop settlement expansion. Dr. Mkhaimar Abusada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza explains that: “When we look at the past 20 years of negotiations, we think the fatal mistake for the Palestinians was signing an agreement with Israel without making sure there is an end to Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.” That is why many Palestinians are confounded by Mahmoud Abbas’ agreement to open negotiations without assurance of a freeze. He noted that rumors of a new settlement plan inside the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem have reached Gaza (the story aired on Israeli news Monday evening). Abusada views this point as the primary reason for demonstrations in Ramallah and Nablus against the negotiations: “they feel there are no guarantees that Netanyahu is serious about ending...

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Referendum on peace agreement just might pass

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

The first reaction of the Israeli Right to the possible revival of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations has been to rush legislation ensuring a referendum on a future agreement. The idea is to supplement Israel’s 2010 law with provisions that tailor it to apply to any kind of agreement (the existing law passed in 2010 is somewhat more limited), and to make it harder to overturn such a law.

A recent poll I conducted for Open Zion at The Daily Beast among Jewish Israelis showed that a clear majority of respondents – 53 percent to 34 percent – prefer to hold a referendum.

Right-wingers are more favorable to a referendum than the Left. In our survey, the Left was divided, but by a slight margin, preferring not to hold a referendum (44 percent of the Left favor it, 48 percent were opposed – within the margin of error).

That’s primarily because the political right has brandished and branded the referendum as a sort of defense measure to halt an agreement (having suddenly remembered that democracy is important after all). Naftali Bennett is so committed to this notion that he wrote it into the coalition agreement (Hebrew) between his party, Jewish Home, and Likud-Beitenu – a referendum law must be passed in the Knesset within 90 days of the formation of the new government. He is now reportedly prepared to vote against the budget should the law fail to materialize.

Right-leaning voters have clearly assumed that a referendum will be the final barrier against a final status agreement, hence their stronger support.

The entire approach is predicated on those Israelis’ assumption that in a referendum, Israelis would vote against an agreement.

So as a public service, it is worth reminding everyone that surveys consistently show that a majority of the Israeli public favors a two-state solution. In a June survey for the Truman Institute at Hebrew University, 58 percent of Jews supported the two-state solution, and 62 percent of all Israelis including Arab respondents.

But in addition to polls, there are also election results. Consider the following: Likud-Beitenu, Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid’s party), Labor, Meretz, Kadima, Ha’tnua (The Movement – Tzipi Livni’s party), and Hadash all support the...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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