Abbas calls new Israeli law on Jerusalem indivisibility 'declaration of war'
Ahmad GHARABLI (AFP)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday hit back at the Israeli law that was passed earlier in the day enshrining the indivisibility of Jerusalem, calling it a "declaration of war on Palestinians."
A statement issued by Abbas' office said that the law was a pronouncement by Israel that the peace process is officially dead.
Israel's Knesset early on Tuesday passed a law requiring a vote of two-thirds of the Knesset (Israel's parliament) in order to sanction a division of Jerusalem in any peace agreement with the Palestinians.
The bill, approved by a 64 to 51 vote, is the latest blow to hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The amendment to Basic Law: Jerusalem, co-sponsored by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli, both of the hard-right Jewish Home party, stipulates that key decisions on East Jerusalem, such as relinquishing any part of its territory in a future peace deal, would require a special majority of 80 votes.
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.
The city has been in the international spotlight since US President Donald Trump's fiercely contested recognition of the city as Israel's capital last month.
Israel claims all of Jerusalem as its united capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state. The issue is among the most contentious in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"We've ensured the unity of Jerusalem," Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who heads Jewish Home, said after the vote.
"The Mount of Olives, the Old City and the City of David will forever remain ours," he wrote on Twitter.
Dov Henin of the opposition's mainly Arab Joint List said the new law should be called "the law to prevent peace".
"Without an agreement on Jerusalem there will be no peace," he said ahead of the final vote. "The law means that there will be bloodshed."
The new law is however not necessarily definitive. It can be changed by a regular parliamentary majority of 61.
(Staff with AFP)
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if Israel was really at war with the terrorist palis, Abbas would be blown to pieces by now. not a bad idea, really.