Why dividing Jerusalem in a peace deal just got harder

Jul 16, 2017

Jewish boys waving the Israeli flag in front of the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem as part of celebrations for Jerusalem Day, June 5, 2016. (Zack Wajsgras/Flash90)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli ministers approved a bill that would make it difficult to divide Jerusalem in a peace deal.

The Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved an amendment to the Basic Law that would require a two-thirds majority of at least 80 Knesset members to pass a decision to cede land in Jerusalem. The current law requires a simple majority of 61 lawmakers to approve the transfer of sovereign control of any part of the city, including as part of an Israel-Palestinian peace deal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition support the amendment, which is expected to pass the required three readings in the Knesset.

Jewish Home Party head Naftali Bennett and lawmaker Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli proposed the United Jerusalem bill.

“We will prevent a situation like in 2000, when Ehud Barak wanted to hand over the Temple Mount and three-quarters of the Old City, the Mount of Olives and the City of David, to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Camp David talks,” Bennett said in a Facebook post.

חוק ירושלים מאוחדת שיזמנו עבר כרגע פה אחד. 🇮🇱הבטחנו, קיימנו. **נמנע מצב כמו ב2000 שאהוד ברק רצה למסור לערפאת את הר הבית, 3/4 מהעיר העתיקה, הר הזיתים ועיר דוד.

Posted by ‎נפתלי בנט‎ on Sunday, July 16, 2017