Israel raises threshold to secure a whole Jerusalem in Knesset vote

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The Knesset’s passage of a law that requires two-thirds of its members to approve any future transfer of land in Jerusalem to a foreign entity is “equivalent to a declaration of war on the Palestinian people,” Nabil Abu Rudeinah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s spokesman, said on Tuesday.

Late Monday night, the Knesset passed the law, with 62 lawmakers voting in favor of it and 52 against it. While many of the law’s backers hope it will make it more difficult to divide Jerusalem as a part of a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, only a simple majority vote of 61 lawmakers is needed to amend it.

“The Israeli Knesset’s vote on the united Jerusalem law is equivalent to a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its political and religious identity,” Abu Rudeinah said in a statement published on the official PA news agency Wafa. “This vote clearly indicates that the Israeli side has officially declared the end of what is called the political process and has begun imposing a policy of dictates.”

While Israel considers all of Jerusalem its capital, the Palestinians hope that east Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Abu Rudeinah also asserted that “There is no legitimacy to the Israeli Knesset’s decisions.

“We will not allow under any circumstance such dangerous projects for the region and the world’s future to come to pass,” he said.

Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues for both Palestinians and Israelis, as it is home to a number of Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites. In some cases, multiple religions revere the same holy site such as the Temple Mount, which is considered the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site in Islam.

Hamas Spokesman Fawzi Barhoum also blasted the Knesset for approving the law, calling it “a continuation of a series of assaults on the holy city, a targeting of the Palestinian presence and a falsification of history.”

“In light of these dangerous developments, it is necessary for President Abbas to declare the end of Oslo and security coordination with the occupation and rescind the [PLO’s] recognition of the Israeli entity,” he said.

According to Palestinian officials, the Palestine Liberation Organization is slated to convene one of its top bodies, the PLO Central Council, on January 14 to discuss the future of the Israeli-Palestinian ties and other issues.

Originally posted at Jerusalem Post.

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