As the Middle East explodes, again, we should acknowledge that one of many causes lies in the ‘right of majority rule’. That which was a major cause of the Troubles is also problematic in Israel
After all, if the majority takes its own decisions by majority vote, then just as a half of a half is a quarter, so too, a majority of a majority is probably a minority: the DUP in Belfast, the Boris Johnson wing of the Tories, and so on.
True majority rule can only exist with consensus. In practice, if no party gets a majority of seats in Parliament, the biggest can ‘jump into bed’ with another and, as long as the two thus add up to at least 50% + 1, that pair can then rule.
Thus it was in Westminster when Theresa May’s Tories teamed up with the DUP... and hence Brexit. So too in Tel Aviv, where Likud joined the even more extremist Jewish Home, (for an overall majority of only one MP)... and hence, of course — the tail wagging the dog — settlements on the West Bank, and so on, drying the timbers which are now in flames.
If only Leinster House and Westminster had all-party power-sharing, at least they would practice that which they have long since been preaching. The Swiss do it fairly successfully. And if Israel had power-sharing, then the Arabs might also be in government.
Difficult? Yes of course. But jaw-jaw please; it’s always better than war.
Peter Emerson, The de Borda Institute, Belfast BT14
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