The Israeli parliament ushered in the new year with a law that made it nearly impossible for its government to hand over control of any parts of Jerusalem back to the Palestinians—a move clearly designed to wreck any future peace deal or two-state solution in the region.
The legislation, sponsored by the Jewish Home party—one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition partners—raises to 80 from 61 the number of votes required in the 120-seat Knesset to approve any proposal to hand over part of the city to “a foreign party”.
Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. It says the entire city is its “eternal and indivisible” capital.
Palestinians seek to make East Jerusalem the capital of a state they seek to establish in the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip.
The amendment, long in the legislative pipeline, was passed with 64 lawmakers voting in favor and 52 against.
Jewish Home’s leader, Naftali Bennett, said the vote showed that Israel would keep control of all of Jerusalem forever. “There will be no more political skulduggery that will allow our capital to be torn apart,” Bennett said on Twitter.
In November 2016, following the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States, Bennett maintained he saw this as hope that the two-state solution would no longer be considered viable, claiming, “The era of the Palestinian state is over.”
In October 2016, Bennett said that, “On the matter of the Land of Israel, we have to move from holding action to a decision. We have to mark the dream, and the dream is that Judea and Samaria will be part of the sovereign State of Israel. We have to act today, and we must give our lives. We can’t keep marking the Land of Israel as a tactical target and a Palestinian state as the strategic target.”
In addition, Netanyahu’s Likud party unanimously urged legislators in a non-binding resolution to effectively annex Israeli settlements built in the West Bank.