Dimi Reider writes:
I just finished watching a live transmission of the Knesset vote on the referendum law. The law, which passed at a majority of 65 to 33, conditions any Israeli withdrawal from any of its territory – into which Israel, alone in the world, includes the Golan Heights East Jerusalem – on passing a nation-wide referendum. To revoke the law, the Knesset would need a privileged majority of 80 out of 120 parliamentarians. Considering current and foreseeable trends in the public mood, overwhelming support for withdrawing from East Jerusalem – including the Old City, Gilo, Ramot Eshkol, and others – is highly unlikely.
This means that even if we ever get to an agreement on the key issue of a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem and the status of the city’s Palestinian residents, the referendum will kill it. The only alternative are if the government makes a new legislation and kills referendum law first, which seems highly improbable. The future Palestinian state, if it ever comes to pass, will be without its main symbol and historic capital.
The two state solution was in dire straits ever since it was born; the huge settlement expansion under Israel’s most leftist governments, especially the Rabin-Peres one, made it all but impossible to achieve on the ground. Whatever was left of its political future was further cast into question by the Olmert and Netanyahu documents, demanding the new Palestinian state has no control of airspace or non-Israeli borders, and other attributes of a sovereign state. The referendum bill put nail-before-last in the two-state process. The last nail will come when the Palestinian Authority implodes, whether for lack of credibility, or for a conscious change of tactic in favour of demanding vote and collective rights within the overarching Israeli government.