The NY Times doesn’t even pretend to hide its bias any more:
JERUSALEM — Israel’s right-leaning Parliament approved legislation late Monday that could hamper the leadership’s ability to seal future peace deals with the Palestinians or Syria.
The measure requires that any peace deal involving the ceding of territory annexed by Israel — namely East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights — must be put to a national referendum.
The West Bank, which Israel never annexed, does not fall within the scope of the legislation, but it would include other pieces of sovereign Israeli territory that might be ceded in the context of land swaps in a peace agreement.
East Jerusalem became part of Israel in 1980, with the passage of the Basic Law — Jerusalem. Although the Golan Heights was not actually annexed, Israeli law and administration was extended to it in 1981.
The new law says that if the Knesset approves such a deal by a simple majority but by less than a 2/3 vote, there must be a popular referendum before it can be implemented.
Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat is opposed because,
Ending the occupation of our land is not and cannot be dependent on any sort of referendum.
Translation: “It’s mine, give it to me.” We’ve seen this argument before.
Opposition politicians are opposed because, in the words of Kadima leader Tzipi Livni,
It is about decisions that should be taken by the leadership that understands the scale of the problems and is privy to all their aspects… The people are not a substitute for such leadership.
Translation: “We know what’s good for you.” But the history of the ‘peace process’ and the wars that followed showed that they don’t. In the famous words of Barack Obama, “elections have consequences,” and the Israeli electorate expressed their clear belief that the left-wing parties did not have their confidence after the débacles of Oslo and Gaza.
The NY times dislikes the idea, because it might “hamper” the God-given right of the Obama Administration to squeeze Israeli politicians until the blood flows.
You see, the administration’s bullies can threaten the Prime Minister and others in private, with actions that the American people — and Congress — would find repulsive. We’ve seen hints of this already in suggestions that the US might not veto a Security Council resolution establishing a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1949 lines, something that could lead to economic sanctions or even military force against Israel.
A referendum would wreck this strategy. Any threats would have to be public ones.
The Times faithfully reflects administration thinking on this issue, and the attitude toward democracy is telling.