The Ministerial Committee for Legislation voted on Sunday to support a bill that would require the approval of 80 MKs in order for the government to even begin negotiations on dividing or relinquishing any part of Jerusalem to the Palestinians.
The committee voted 5-4 to support the bill, sponsored by MK Yaakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), with ministers from Yesh Atid and Hatnua voting against and ministers from Likud-Beytenu and Jewish Home supporting it.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the committee and is lead negotiator in the current peace talks, said that she would appeal the decision with the cabinet, which could shut down the bill if it accepts her reservations.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) also opposed the bill, but refused Livni’s request to join the appeal.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also opposes the bill and is expected to support Livni’s appeal.
If the bill were voted into law by the Knesset, it could hamper peace talks. The matter of negotiations would have to go back to the Knesset for a vote, while the Knesset, the cabinet and the Jerusalem municipality would be exempt from implementing any agreement reached in negotiations that began without the requisite approval.
Litzman, a member of the opposition, said the aim of the bill was to hold Netanyahu to his promise not to divide Jerusalem.
“I’m happy for the right to keep and defend Jerusalem,” he said, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. “Netanyahu promised more than once not to negotiate on Jerusalem. This bill is intended to hold him to that promise and to keep [Jerusalem] united. The message of the bill is clear: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and is outside of any negotiations.”