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Israel passes bill aimed at preventing division of Jerusalem

Muslim worshippers arrive at Al-Aqsa Mosque to perform the last Friday Prayer of the fasting month of Ramadan in Jerusalem on 23 June 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
Muslim worshippers arrive at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on 23 June 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

A bill aimed at preventing any future divisions of Jerusalem, by requiring a two-third majority in Israel's parliament in order to do so, passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset today.

The bill, titled "Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel", passed with 58 Members of Knesset (MKs) voting in favour, 48 voting against, and one MK abstaining from the vote, according to a statement released by the government body.

The bill aims to mend Israel's Basic Law on Jerusalem to necessitate the approval of 80 of the 120 Knesset members to make any changes to the law, instead of the regular majority vote.

According to the statement, the proposal explains that the bill has a "security purpose".

"Since the [Israeli occupation army] IDF's withdrawal from Lebanon [in 2000] and the disengagement from the Gaza Strip [in 2005] proved that wherever Israel withdraws from, terrorist factors enter, threatening the security of citizens of Israel," the bill reportedly states, insinuating that if Israel withdrew from occupied East Jerusalem, it would be taken over by "terrorist" factions.

MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from the hard right Jewish Home party, who had submitted the bill along with a group of other MKs, said that the bill was meant "to protect Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the Israeli people."

The State of Israel will not allow the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. Get it into your heads that Jerusalem will remain the capital of the Jewish people for eternity; 3,000 years after King David established Jerusalem as the capital of the [Jewish] people, we returned to it

she added.

The annexation of East Jerusalem is recognised under international law as illegal, the area is earmarked as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

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