Knesset approves ‘Unified Jerusalem Law’, complicates situation


Wed, 03 Jan 2018 - 08:59 GMT

FILE – Flag of Israel

FILE – Flag of Israel

CAIRO – 3 January 2018: Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s calls for negotiations with the Palestinian authorities over the recent Jerusalem crisis, Israel has taken several consecutive decisions that will unlikely allow negotiations to take place.

Israel’s 120-seat Knesset gave the final approval on Tuesday to the legislation dubbed “Unified Jerusalem Law”, the Nation reported.

The legislation states that any decision relating to Jerusalem including handing over any part of the city to a “foreign party” will require the consent of at least 80 Knesset members – even in the case of a peace agreement. The law was submitted by MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and was approved by a 64 to 51 vote.

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli - Courtesy of the Knesset's official website

Commenting on the law, Hamas, one of the main Palestinian factions said Tuesday in a press statement: “Israel’s accelerated decisions against Palestinian lands and Jerusalem should end previous ‘weak’ agreements with Palestine.”

Making the solution to the crisis more complicated, the central committee of Netanyahu’s party, Likud, voted earlier this week, in favor of extending Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank.

The non-binding resolution aims to annex Israeli settlements built in the West Bank. However, under international law, the settlements Israel built are illegal as the West Bank is designated an occupied territory.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party, Palestine’s largest faction, said that the decision represents an end to the remnants of the peace process.

Official spokesman for the Palestinian presidency Nabil Abu Rudeina described in statements on Tuesday the recent Israeli and U.S. measures as a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and their political and religious identity, saying such measures affect the future of the entire region.

In a unilateral decision, on December 6, U.S. President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and announced the relocation of the American Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

This decision was condemned and rejected by all Arab and Islamic countries, as well as most Western and Asian countries.



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