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Knesset passes Jerusalem Bill

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Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, has passed legislation stipulating that any future change to the status of Jerusalem, or decision to cede territory from the city in any peace agreement, will require a supermajority of 80 votes to be approved.

The Bill, which was sponsored by Naftali Bennet’s Jewish Home party, passed its second and third readings by 64 votes to 51 late on Monday night. The clause in the Bill requiring a supermajority of 80 votes is largely symbolic, because the bill itself can be repealed with a simple Knesset majority.

The Bill also changed the law regarding future changes to Jerusalem’s municipal borders. Future changes can now be passed with a simple majority, whereas before a majority of 61 MKs was required.

Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin said that “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”.

Bennett insisted that the law was “not theoretical,” adding that “it is not within the authority of any Jew, of any Jewish body, or the entire Jewish people, to give up any part of the land”.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said the new law “does not help any citizens” and that “the person leading the coalition is Naftali Bennett”.

Palestinian Authority (PA) spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeinah called the vote “equivalent to a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its political and religious identity” and said that it “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”.