On Tuesday, the Knesset passed a bill emending the Basic Law—Israel’s de-facto constitution—so that a two-thirds majority will be needed to approve any measure that would cede any part of Jerusalem to another state or entity. Nadav Shragai explains the bill’s logic:
This is a practical law, not a theoretical one. The Knesset has now placed a serious obstacle in the path of any government that tries to hand over such Jerusalem neighborhoods [as] Issawiya, Jabel Mukhabar, or Tzur Baher to the Palestinians. These neighborhoods and others like them lie flush against Jewish neighborhoods such as French Hill or Mount Scopus in the north, or Armon Hanatziv or Kibbutz Ramat Rachel in the southeast. On Tuesday, the Knesset reduced the likelihood that the Palestinians will ever resume shooting attacks from the seam, [that is, the area between the borders of Jerusalem and the barrier that cordons off much of the West Bank], like the ones in [the Jerusalem neighborhood of] Gilo that occurred after the adjacent town of Beit Jala was handed over to the Palestinians.
The new legislation is also vital to prevent any possibility that, after any division of the city, the Palestinians would interfere with freedom of access to, and worship at, the Jewish holy sites in the city. They have done so in the distant and recent past with the Western Wall, the Temple Mount, the Mount of Olives, and Rachel’s Tomb.
The law will also preserve the joint day-to-day life shared by Jews and Arabs in the capital. This is something else that exists in Jerusalem, along with the ethno-religious conflict, and to a much greater degree than most of the public is aware of. Dividing the city would definitely hurt that co-existence.
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