by Gideon Allon and AP
New law would require supermajority of 80 MKs before ceding sovereignty in parts of the capital, but law can be nullified in simple majority
The Knesset passed early Tuesday a law requiring a supermajority to relinquish control over any part of Jerusalem, a move that could hamstring the city's division as part of a peace plan.
The legislation bars the government from ceding Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem without the approval of at least 80 MKs. The law itself can be overturned with a simple majority, however, making it largely symbolic.
Ahead of the vote, MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) said the law was necessary to ensure that no part of Jerusalem "is handed over to foreign entities" in light of past incidents in which "prime ministers bought off MKs in order to win a razor-thin majority for moves such as the Oslo Accords and the Disengagement Plan [the 2005 pullout from communities in the Gaza Strip and northern Samaria]."
Jerusalem Affairs and Heritage Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud) said during the Knesset debate that after the bill becomes law, "anyone who dares to infringe on our sovereignty in Jerusalem and divide the city will have to convince 80 MKs to support such a measure." Elkin said there "was nothing more symbolic that 70 years after the U.N. voted to establish a Jewish state we are building an iron wall to cement Jerusalem's status."
Opposition members slammed the legislation. MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) said that "only one state recognizes Israel's annexation of east Jerusalem." He added that the measure would "tie the hands of future generations and may prevent peace, which is against the principles of Zionism." He then turned to coalition members and said: "You are trembling with fear because you know you are on the wrong side of the debate."
Gideon Allon and AP
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