A Haredi Knesset Member surprised the government Sunday and mustered a 5-4 committee vote to advance a bill requiring approval of two-thirds of the legislature before Israel could surrender sovereignty over any land in Jerusalem.
The bill states that Jerusalem will “not be divided, or parts of it handed over to anybody” and that “the sanctity of Jerusalem shall not be given to outsiders.”
A “united Jerusalem” is one of Israeli politicians’ favorite mottos never put to the test, but the Knesset Ministerial Committee will force the hand of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
He never will say he is for dividing Jerusalem, but he is not about to allow the bill become law and make Israel the loser in the “blame game” in discussions between Palestinian Authority and Israel negotiators.
United Torah Judaism MK Yaakov Litzman, who sits in the Opposition, proposed the bill to make it virtually impossible to win Knesset approval for dividing the capital. Two Jewish Home ministers and a Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu minister voted for the bill, while Yesh Atid ministers and those from Livni’s party were among those opposing it.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu previously has opposed the idea, and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads the Ministerial Committee, said she would appeal the 5-4 vote. The Prime Minister will make sure the vote goes the other way next time around.
Livni correctly said that her hands would be tied in talks with the Palestinian Authority if the Knesset were to pass the bill into law.
One of the rules of the game that the Obama administration has laid down is that neither side can make any unilateral moves, which would abort the talks. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry already has slapped Mahmoud Abbas’ hands for suggesting that since things are not moving in his direction fast enough, he would consider going back to the United Nations to expand the PA’s presence on international committees.
He and chief negotiator Saeb Erekat also have been called on the carpet for repeatedly negative comments about the talks. On Sunday, Abbas suddenly spoke as if things were just honky-dory, just as Kerry told him to say.
Livni would look stupid, no comments please, if she were to show up at a meeting with Erekat after the Knesset had passed a law that requires 80 Knesset Members to approve dividing the city. The law would destroy the Arab dream of turning Jerusalem into a nightmare for Jews.
MK Litzman scored points with his getting the bill to pass by a narrow vote, but Prime Minister Netanyahu does not want to be the party pooper in the White House, and he will join Livni to make sure the bill does not get to the floor of the Knesset.
The ignorantly uncompromising position of the Palestinian Authority and the pitifully spineless position of Israel show how stupid the Obama administration looks because it is even more pitifully deaf and blind for imagining that Israel and the Palestinian Authority have any intention of sacrificing their separate existence.
The American government has not yet understood that Israel already has surrendered so much over the past 20 years that the government cannot accept any further serious concessions.
It also has not understood that if the Palestinian Authority surrender even one fingernail, it is doomed, which it is anyway.
And MK Litzman does not understand that Israel is not allowed to bring any principles or ideology to the discussions because the government of Israel has to show it is spineless in order to force the Palestinian Authority into showing it is hopeless.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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