parliament last week passed a law that will require a supermajority vote
to cede control over any part of Jerusalem.
The move is Israel’s latest attempt to exert full control over Jerusalem
since U.S. President Donald Trump recognized it as the Israeli capital.
The new law shows how far away peace between Israel and Palestine
The amendment to the Jerusalem Law requires approval from at least 80 of
the 120 members of the Israeli parliament, or Knesset, to relinquish
Israel’s control over any part of the city. The law also allows the
government to remove Palestinian territories from Jerusalem and turn
them instead into separate municipalities under Israeli control.
Israel claims Jerusalem as its united capital, while Palestinians want
east Jerusalem to serve as the capital of their future state.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas said the Israeli law is “tantamount to
declaring war on the Palestinian people.”
Alan Baker, director of the contemporary affairs institute with the
Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told me the law serves more as a
political statement. Lawmakers can repeal it with a simple majority of
61 parliamentary votes. “I can’t see any situation where Israel,
whatever political party is leading, will give up any part of
Jerusalem,” Baker said, ”so it’s probably more symbolic than anything
Ramzy Baroud, editor of the Palestine Chronicle, said Israeli lawmakers
are using the laws to further isolate Jerusalem and clear Palestinians
from the city. “They understand that the unparalleled U.S. support must
be exploited to the maximum and that any delay on those bills would be a
missed opportunity,” Baroud wrote for Arab News.
In a historic move in early December, Trump recognized Jerusalem as
Israel’s capital. The announcement sparked protests in Palestine and
several other countries. Palestinians now worry Trump’s declaration
emboldened Israel’s ruling party. In a similar move last week, the
ruling Likud party’s central committee passed a nonbinding, unanimous
resolution that urged lawmakers to annex Israeli settlements in the West
Bank. Abbas commented the resolution could not happen “without the full
support of the U.S. administration.”
Attempts last year to revive peace talks between Israel and Palestine
showed no progress. Baker said Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as
Israel’s capital will likely have no impact on the peace process since
it still remains at a stalemate. After a Saturday meeting with ministers
from Palestine, Egypt, and other Arab states, Jordanian Foreign Minister
Ayman Safadi said Arab states will push for an international resolution
to make east Jerusalem the Palestinian capital. “We want to lessen any
losses on the Palestinian side and lessen the Israeli gains,” said Ahmed
Aboul Gheit, head of the Arab League.