Ariel Sharon

He [Sharon] said he totally rejects any idea of a referendum. He was unwilling to talk, unwilling to listen, he is determined to lead the nation to a rift that will result in a civil war.

Sharon and settlement leaders met the other day for a chat about the future of the settlements. Needless to say, it didn’t go especially well. A key issue was over whether or not settlers have the right to hold referendums to decide their fate. Sharon balked at the idea, partly on the basis of a slippery slope argument that everything may go up for referendum if Israel allows any national policy to be settled that way. One of his advisors, Asaf Shariv, claimed, “He [Sharon] heard Limor Livnat’s proposal and he is still determined not to hold a referendum.”

The settlers were fairly dubious about this line of argument. They pointed out that one of Sharon’s campaign promises was to not unilaterly withdrawl from Gaza. Hence, they claim, a referendum may help provide a mandate for withdrawl. However, with no referendum, Rabbis claiming they should resist the IDF, and unveiled calls for civil war it looks like the leaders of the settlements are down right disrespectful of the authority of the Government of Israel.

What a mess! As if suicide bombers, direct hostility from the EU and internal party ruptures weren’t enough, Sharon now has to face the prospect of sending the IDF to confront other Jews. The saddest part of all is that Sharon’s meeting was supposed to “calm down the situation.” So far as Grandmuffti can tell, it had the exact opposite effect. As Eliezer Hasdai puts it, “We came here to calm the atmosphere and instead we understood from the Prime Minister that is an interest of his to cause a rift in the nation and to bring the nation into a civil war.” Let’s hope this story has an unlikely but happy ending.

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  • The only party guilty of fomenting a civil war are those Rabbis who are urging troops to disobey orders. I say bring on the national referendum and see where the people really stand on this. Better have a referendum and let Sharon handle the withdrawal and do it the right way rather than have an election and reinvigorate the left.

  • So they are planning to start a civil war and they’re blaming Sharon for starting a civil war. Talk about doublespeak!

    Sharon is right not to want to hold a referendum over this lest it open the door to always holding referanda over national security matters. On the other hand, he has little credibility since he held a referendum over this very topic within his party, so why is he saying it’s unacceptable to do this with the populace?

    The irony, of course, is that the polls show he would easily win such a referendum.

  • Um, these folks are out of control. The IDF should be preparing a crackdown right now.

    “”We are heading toward a situation in which there will be no dialogue and we will be required to fight with all our power,” Binyamin Regional Council head Pinhas Wallerstein said. “The meeting was pathetic and nothing useful came out of it. Either someone is controlling Sharon, or he took Prozac before the meeting.” “

  • The following are the major findings of the September 2004 “Peace Index” conducted by Tel Aviv University’s Tami Steinmetz Centre for Peace Research.

    A solid majority of Israel’s Jewish public, 60.7 percent, continues to support Prime Minister Sharon’s plan for unilateral disengagement from Gaza, compared to 30 percent that is opposed. This data has remained largely unchanged from previous surveys, despite the domestic controversy the plan has generated.

    Despite the domestic controversy (as well as intensified terrorism in Gaza and the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel proper), 63.4 percent believes the disengagement will be implemented, whereas 29 percent thinks it will not.

    86.3 percent supports the democratic right of Israelis opposed to disengagement to protest, so long as it is legal, whereas 11.4 percent opposes according them this right. As for illegal methods of protest, only a small minority, 13.5 percent, supports this kind of behaviour on condition that it is non-violent, while an even smaller minority (6.5 percent) also supports violent forms of protest, such as forcefully resisting the evacuation of settlements.

  • Interesting stats, Kenny. It makes you wonder, though, why are the settlers so hell-bent on a national referendum if they, by every majour indication, are bound to lose and get kicked out anyways? Is it just a stall?

  • I think the settlers believe they can win in a referendum. They only need to scare a small percentage of the public to achieve a victory. They have manpower and money, and a very strong desire to win.