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The New Arab

Israel passes law requiring supermajority to cede Jerusalem

The number was raised from previous existing legislation of 61 votes to 80 [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 January, 2018

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Israel’s parliament has passed a law requiring a supermajority vote to relinquish control over any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
Israel's parliament passed a law on Tuesday making it more difficuly for the government to relinquish control over any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians, who want the eastern part of the city for a future independent state.

The move, which could hamstring the city's division as part of the peace plan, bars the Israeli government from ceding Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem without the approval of at least 80 from the 120-seat Knesset. The number was raised from previous existing legislation of 61 votes.

The new law could be overturned with a regular majority, but comes less than a month after American president Donald Trump's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, amid great tension.

Trump broke with decades of US policy by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and declaring he would move the country's embassy from Tel Aviv to the contested city.

Naftali Bennett, the head of the far-right Jewish Home coalition party which sponsored the legislation, told Reuters, "the authority to relinquish parts of the land is not in the hands of any Jew, nor of the Jewish people".

Isaac Herzog, head of the opposition, said Jewish Home was leading Israel "towards a terrible disaster".

On Sunday, the central committee of Israel's ruling Likud Party voted for a resolution urging its MPs to push to annex the occupied West Bank.

The non-binding vote by the Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's party's decision-making committee called on its MPs "to spread Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (the occupied West Bank)".

The decision is expected to bolster right-wing support for Netanyahu, who currently faces corruption allegations.

Political commentators said the decision to push for a supermajority could be Jewish Home's attempt to compete with Likud for support among the right-wing base.

Jerusalem is a key issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Trump's move has caused widespread anger in the region and garnered international condemnation.

Both the Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip have seen daily protests and Palestinians have clashed with Israeli troops across the West Bank and along the Gaza border. Eleven Palestinians have been killed since Trump's announcement on December 6.

Israel regards Jerusalem as its "undivided" capital, a position nearly the entire world rejects saying its status should be determined in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Under international law, East Jerusalem is considered occupied Palestinian territory.

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