Bill to prevent division of Jerusalem approved, ready for final vote

A bill requiring the support of a two-thirds Knesset majority in order to cede any part of Jerusalem has passed another parliamentary hurdle and is now ready for a final vote.

By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News

A bill requiring a supermajority of 80 Members of Knesset (MK) to approve diplomatic concessions with regard to the Israeli capital was approved on Tuesday by the Knesset’s Justice Committee and is now ready for a final plenary vote.

By a vote of nine to seven, the Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved for second and third final readings in the Knesset Plenum an amendment to “Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel,” which states that giving up Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem would require a majority of at least 80 MKs, two-thirds of the Knesset.

The bill enjoyed the Knesset’s support in July, with 58 MKs in favor versus 48 against during its first plenum reading.

The Knesset’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation unanimously approved the bill earlier that month.

Currently, Israeli law requires the consent of at least 61 MKs, a majority in the 120-member Knesset, for handing over sovereign control of any part of the capital to foreign governments or agencies, possibly as part of a diplomatic solution with the Palestinians.

While the bill demands 80 votes for withdrawal, it requires only 61 to amend the law itself.

“The goal of the bill is to prevent concessions as part of diplomatic deals,” MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, who proposed the legislation, stated.

”The law offers a solution for Jerusalem,” said Constitution, Law and Justice Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky. ”This is an important law. We are preserving our sovereignty over Jerusalem.”

MK Mossi Raz of the extreme-left Meretz faction called the bill “anti-Zionist.”

”I wish to go back to the First Zionist Congress, which defined Zionism as the realization of the right to self-determination in accordance with the Law of Nations. According to this definition, this legislation is clearly anti-Zionist. Only one country recognizes the annexation of east Jerusalem, and that is Israel.”

He accused his colleagues of “seeking to tie the hands of future generations and prevent any chance for peace, in contradiction to the values of Zionism, in an undemocratic manner with a supermajority. You are trembling with fear because you know you are mistaken and that one day this position will change.”