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Netanyahu postpones Jerusalem bill so as ‘not to embarrass’ Trump

December 11, 2017 at 11:01 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu [Benjamin Netanyahu/Facebook]

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has postponed a Knesset vote on a bill “that would make it more difficult to transfer parts of Jerusalem to the Palestinian Authority”, reported Haaretz.

The decision was taken “in order not to embarrass US President Donald Trump following harsh international criticism of his decision last week to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital”.

According to the paper, “the vote will now take place after next week’s planned visit to Israel by US Vice President Mike Pence.”

The proposed law in question was initiated by Education Minister Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home) and Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin (Likud), and is technically an amendment to the existing Basic Law on Jerusalem.

The legislation has “two main goals”, reports Haaretz: to “make it more difficult to transfer parts of Jerusalem to Palestinian responsibility”, and to “pave the way” to remove certain Palestinian neighbourhoods located beyond the Separation Wall from the Jerusalem municipality.

Read: Israel advances bill ‘banning’ division of Jerusalem

The neighbourhoods would instead be placed “in a new municipal body that remains under Israeli sovereignty”.

According to Haaretz, the postponement might make it harder for Bennett and Elkin to achieve the 61 votes they need to pass the amendment.

“The vote was originally scheduled for Monday, along with a host of votes on other government-backed bills,” the paper explains.

“The governing coalition has ordered full attendance from all its lawmakers, and nearly all of them will be present – which would have seemingly allowed the Jerusalem bill to pass as well. But now the likelihood of its passing seems more uncertain.”