A senior minister from a right-wing party called the creation of a Palestinian state a delusional act Monday, casting doubts over the wisdom of negotiating for a two-state solution.
Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads the nationalist Jewish Home faction, said that while his party would not stop Justice Minister Tzipi Livni from negotiating with the Palestinian Authority, when the Knesset opens its winter session Monday, it would pass the bill requiring a referendum on any peace deal that would relinquish sovereign Israeli territory.
“[The creation] of Palestinian state within the State of Israel is a delusional act because it supports replacing coexistence with autonomy,” he said according to Israel Radio.
Bennett and Jewish Home have been pushing the referendum law through the Knesset with the support of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Knesset approved the first reading of the bill near the end of its summer session, with 66 in favor and 45 against.
If approved by the Knesset, the bill will reinforce an earlier law passed in 2010 that requires the government to obtain a two-thirds Knesset majority or public approval via a referendum in order to sign away any Israeli territory.
The new bill aims to make the referendum law a Basic Law that is semi-constitutional, putting it beyond the reach of the Supreme Court, which can in theory strike down any regular law.
A petition against the basic referendum law has already been submitted to the Supreme Court, but should the Knesset approve the new bill the petition would become powerless.
Bennett also said that his party insists that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state in order to prevent the possibility of Israeli Arabs demanding another state in Israeli territory.