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.