IMRA interviewed Shas MK Rafael Pinhasi, in Hebrew, on June 28.

IMRA: In 1993 the coalition agreement signed between Shas and Labor stated that in “any contractual peace agreement involving a relinquishment of territory which is today under the sovereignty or control of the State of Israel to another party to the agreement or any third party, the agreement will be brought to the people for decision, either by means of a referendum or in elections to the Knesset and the premiership which will take place before the peace agreement is signed.”

Pinhasi: That only applied to the Golan.

IMRA: What’s the difference between the Golan and Judea and Samaria?

Pinhasi: There is a difference between the Golan and just giving back territory. When it comes to just giving back territory we don’t feel that there should be a national referendum. Just regarding the Golan because it is a security matter and for that we had Rabin’s agreement, per our demand, that he go to a national referendum.

IMRA: In your view there is no security matter in Judea and Samaria?

Pinhasi: Yes.

IMRA: During the same period, when he sat with the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef stressed his concern for the safety of settlers in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

Pinhasi: He didn’t talk about a national referendum. It is clear that their well being has to be secured but not via a national referendum but rather via security arrangements set by the IDF in concert with the prime minister.

IMRA: Earlier this month the Chief of Staff said that if the talks later stall that the security situation will be considerably worse if an additional withdrawal already took place than if one didn’t.

Pinhasi: That’s why we are pressing for a withdrawal. We support a withdrawal.

IMRA: He told the Knesset Foreign Affair Committee said that if there is a withdrawal and later the negotiations stall at a later stage, after the withdrawal, that the security situation will be considerably worse with the withdrawal than without it. So if you fear that in the future the talks may stall then there is a problem with the withdrawal.

Pinhasi: We are following a trend that the talks won’t stall in the future either. That the process should continue until a final agreement is reached.

IMRA: That means assuming that at every stage of the talks they won’t stall.

Pinhasi: Right.

IMRA: I understand. That means that you are assuming that the Palestinians will never raise a demand which you won’t be able to accept.

Pinhasi: Right.

IMRA: I understand. So everything they demand they can get.

Pinhasi: Not everything they demand. That’s why the prime minister and minister of defense are carefully guiding towards the final stages, with American guarantees and the need for reciprocity. That Arafat also has to keep all of his obligations: to fight terror, to change the Palestinians Charter. We insist on all of this also.

IMRA: That is to say that if Netanyahu drops his demand that the Palestinian Charter be amended then you won’t support him?

Pinhasi: If Binyamin Netanyahu gives up on it then we will understand that he has reached the conclusion that he has to give up on it and we will support him.

Dr. Aaron Lerner,
Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645