Israeli Referendum Law: Death Knell For the 2-State Solution

Remember the date. November 22, 2010, the day Israel finally killed the two-state solution.

I know that for me, I will continue to hope that there is some way to still pull two states out of a hat. That’s my heart talking, because both in heart and mind, I very much doubt that a future that does not include a Palestinian state will include either peace or justice. But for at least a while, I’ll probably still hope.

"The nation WITH the Golan," a very popular bumper sticker in Israel

But I can no longer see how it is possible. The Knesset today passed the “referendum law” by a 65 to 33 margin, with some members of Labor and most of Kadima walking out of the vote (though a few MKs from both parties voted in favor). The law dictates that any “retreat” from land that Israel currently claims as its own (meaning the territories it has annexed – the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem – though no country, including the United States recognizes those annexations) must be approved by a public referendum.

While I do believe that the Israeli public would vote to evacuate large parts of the West Bank, I see no possibility that a popular vote would approve leaving Jerusalem, probably including all the “Greater Jerusalem” area.

The bill also makes peace with Syria, which is conditioned on withdrawal from the Golan Heights, impossible. There might be even less public support for the Golan withdrawal than there is for a West Bank one; it’s just discussed less in the media.

What this law does is essentially present a choice to the international community: either force a resolution on the Israeli people or give up on the two-state solution. Continue reading