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 approves referendum on Jerusalem, Golan

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
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