Knesset vote on bill to hinder Jerusalem withdrawal annulled
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Knesset vote on bill to hinder Jerusalem withdrawal annulled

Opposition lawmakers had appealed legislation that was rushed through, saying no time to properly study it

An aerial view of the Dome of the Rock, left, in the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's old city, and the Western Wall, center, the holiest site for Jews, October 02, 2007. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)
An aerial view of the Dome of the Rock, left, in the compound known to Muslims as al-Haram al-Sharif and to Jews as Temple Mount, in Jerusalem's old city, and the Western Wall, center, the holiest site for Jews, October 02, 2007. (AFP/JACK GUEZ)

The chairman of the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee annulled a Tuesday vote advancing a bill that would make it harder to withdraw from parts of Jerusalem in a any peace deal.

Nissan Slomiansky (Jewish Home) agreed to overturn the vote passed hours earlier after opposition lawmakers complained that the amendment was brought to a vote on a single day’s notice, preventing any serious debate, according to Israel Radio.

The amendment to the Basic Law: Jerusalem would require the approval of 80 MKs — or two-thirds of the Knesset — for the handover of any part of the capital to a future Palestinian state.

Following the cancellation, the committee is set to vote again on Wednesday. Then the bill is slated to face its first reading in the plenum later in the day.

Jewish Home MK Nissan Slomiansky chairs a meeting of the Knesset Law, Justice and Constitution Committee on November 22, 2016. (Issac Harari/Flash90)
Jewish Home MK Nissan Slomiansky chairs a meeting of the Knesset Law, Justice and Constitution Committee on November 22, 2016. (Isaac Harari/Flash90)

“The purpose of this law is to unify Jerusalem forever,” Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett said in a statement before introducing the legislation in June. “Reaching a majority of 80 MKs in order to divide Jerusalem is impossible and has no feasibility in the Knesset, which is why this law is so important.”

Currently the Jerusalem Law, passed in 1980 and amended in 2000, states: “No authority that is stipulated in the law of the State of Israel or of the Jerusalem Municipality may be transferred either permanently or for an allotted period of time to a foreign body, whether political, governmental or to any other similar type of foreign body.”

With no provision in the Basic Law specifying how it can be amended, it currently can be overturned with a simple majority. The Jewish Home proposal would add a clause requiring the super-majority.

Raoul Wootliff contributed to this report.

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