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Bill reinforcing referendum on peace talks moves toward final vote

February 12, 2014 11:56

MK Levin: The nation won't give away parts of the homeland; Gal-On: Referendum will sabotage peace agreement.

A stop sign is seen outside a West Bank Jewish settlement

A stop sign is seen outside a West Bank Jewish settlement. (photo credit:Reuters)

The law requiring a referendum for giving away sovereign land in a peace treaty came closer to becoming a Basic Law Wednesday, when its legislative upgrade was approved for its second and third (final) readings.

The decision was made by a joint panel of the Knesset House Committee and the Law, Constitution and Justice Committee.

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Becoming a Basic Law means the existing Referendum Law, which requires any treaty conceding sovereign land to be brought to the Knesset, would eventually become part of the constitution.

According to the law, if over 80 MKs approve a land deal, it can be implemented.

If 61 to 80 MKs approve, it is brought to a referendum, and if fewer approve, the treaty is rejected.

The legislation does not apply to a treaty conceding parts of the West Bank, but it does apply to east Jerusalem, the Golan and anything within the 1949 armistice lines.

Coalition chairman Yariv Levin (Likud Beytenu), who proposed the bill, said it was a technical change that was part of coalition agreements, though he said in an earlier joint committee meeting on the bill that reinforcing the Referendum Law as a Basic Law was meant to defend it from petitions to the Supreme Court.

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On, however, said the bill would undermine peace and the Knesset.

“The referendum bill that [Finance Minister Yair] Lapid and [Economy Minister Naftali] Bennett are trying to promote will change the rules of the game and move the responsibility from the legislature to the nation,” she said. “This will harm the Knesset and its authority in a representative democracy.”
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