Israel law tightens hold on occupied Jerusalem

Jerusalem: Israel’s parliament on Tuesday gave final approval to legislation aimed at making it more difficult for the government to hand the Palestinians parts of Jerusalem under any future peace deal. The bill, approved by a 64 to 51 vote, is the latest blow to remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas’s office said US President Donald Trump’s recent declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the new Israeli law amounted to a “declaration of war”.
Formulated by Shuli Moalem-Refaeli of the far-right Jewish Home party, the new law comes weeks after Trump’s decision on Jerusalem sparked deadly protests in the Palestinian territories.
It also follows a vote earlier this week by the central committee of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party in favour of extending Israeli sovereignty over settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The Likud vote was non-binding, but was a further expression of the hopes of many right-wing Israelis who oppose the creation of a Palestinian state. The law approved on Tuesday determines that any ceding of lands considered by Israel to be part of Jerusalem would necessitate a two-thirds majority vote in parliament — 80 out of 120 members of the Knesset.
It also enables changing the municipal definition of Jerusalem, which means that sectors of the city “could be declared separate entities”, a statement from parliament read.
Israeli right-wing politicians have spoken of unilaterally breaking off overwhelmingly Palestinian areas of the city in a bid to increase its Jewish majority. However, the new law is not necessarily definitive. It can be changed by a regular parliamentary majority of 61. Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967.