Israel approves referendum on Jerusalem, Golan
Israel's parliament approved a bill that requires a referendum for withdrawal from captured East Jerusalem and Golan Hights.
Israel's parliament gave preliminary approval on Wednesday to a attempt that could complicate future peace talks with Syria or the Palestinians by requiring a referendum for withdrawal from captured East Jerusalem and Golan Hights.
The attempt, which must be approved in two additional votes to become law, would conditionally require Israel to hold a national vote, something it has not done in the past, before ceding any annexed land for a peace deal.
Parliament members voted 68 to 22 for the bill backed by members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing cabinet.
The measure could delay, and thereby possibly scuttle any pullout from the Golan Heights, land Syria demands for a peace deal, or East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as capital of a future state.
Both territories were annexed by Israel after their capture in a 1967 war, in moves never recognised internationally.
The legislation would not apply to the occupied West Bank, land Palestinians seek for a state where Israel has built dozens of Jewish settlements despite internationally condemnations.
Committee debates could delay final approval of the bill for months, even years. The measure also contains a loophole that would permit any Israeli government to avoid a referendum by winning the support of two thirds or 80 members of parliament for a land-for-peace treaty.
Reuters Last Mod: 10 Aralık 2009, 08:30