Israeli lawmakers approve legislation making it harder to cede parts of Jerusalem


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli lawmakers approved a bill that would make it harder to cede parts of Jerusalem in a future peace deal.

The legislation, an amendment to Israel’s Basic Law on Jerusalem, requires a vote by an absolute majority in the Knesset — 80 members of the 120 in the body — to give any part of the city to “a foreign party.” It passed early Tuesday morning by a vote of 64 to 52.

Proposed by the pro-settler Jewish Home party, the measure does allow parts of Jerusalem to be turned into its own municipality under Israeli sovereignty. That would allow the removal of Palestinian villages on the other side of the security fence from the city.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said the vote “clearly shows that the Israeli side has officially declared an end to the so-called political process.” Israel has issued “a declaration of war against the Palestinian people,” Abbas said.

The legislation comes a day after the Central Committee of the ruling Likud party voted unanimously to approve a resolution that calls on party leaders to exercise civilian law over parts of the West Bank.