Sa'ar: Clear and important signal
Photo: Ofer Amram
Gil Yohanan
Barakeh: Prewritten game
Gil Yohanan

Bill against J'lem division passes preliminary reading

According to proposal, initiated by Likud MK Sa'ar, any decision on capital's fate must have majority of 80 Knesset members, rather than 61 votes set by law today

The Knesset approved by a large margin a bill in its preliminary reading aimed at dividing Jerusalem on Wednesday. The bill was initiated by Likud faction chairman, Knesset Member Gideon Sa'ar, and Knesset members were given a free hand by their coalition to vote according to their views on the issue.


Many coalition members, including ministers Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), Ariel Atias (Shas), and Rafi Eitan (Pensioners Party) supported the proposal. Nay sayers included former Defense Minister Amir Peretz (Labor).


The bill is a clause to a basic law. It states that Jerusalem is Israel's capital, and that a Knesset majority is needed for any changes to the city's boundaries. Any decision on the city must have a majority of 80 Knesset members, rather than the 61 votes set by law today.


Sa'ar's proposal came following various proposals recently heard over the issue of dividing Jerusalem, before any agreements with the Palestinian Authority.


Vice Premier Haim Ramon recently said that the upcoming Annapolis peace conference would include discussions the division of Jerusalem.


Speaking after the vote, Sa'ar said, "The passing of the bill, two weeks before the Annapolis conference, is an important and clear signal to the entire international community, indicating that there is widespread unity among the Israeli people and Knesset against making sacrifices in Jerusalem."


Not everyone was satisfied with the bill – MK Mohammad Barakeh (Hadash) said that "the vote on the Jerusalem law in the Knesset is a prewritten game of a division of roles between the government and opposition."


He accused Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of "beatifying himself with good words about peace, and sending the opposition to place obstacles on the path to negotiations on a permanent settlement.


"An escape by Olmert and some of his ministers from the vote won't cleanse them of this racist war-mongering law.


"This is another racist law aimed at neutralizing the factions seeking real peace. The people in Israel should know the sole truth, which is that occupied east Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine. That is what is right, and what will be."


פרסום ראשון: 11.14.07, 13:52
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