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Labor proposes bill to prevent unilateral annexation of Jordan Valley
By YAARA SHALOM
01/01/2014
Left's responds to proposed Likud bill to annex Jordan Valley, apply Israeli law in area.
 
A bill to prevent Israel from unilaterally annexing territories will be brought to a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday and the Knesset next Wednesday.

The “Two States Bill,” proposed by Labor MK Hilik Bar, is a response to Likud MK Miri Regev’s bill that would to annex the Jordan Valley and apply Israeli law there, which passed in the committee on Sunday.

Bar’s bill would require that the final status of Judea and Samaria be determined only within the framework of a two-state solution agreement with the Palestinians.

Drafting the legislation was a joint effort of Bar, the grassroots movement OneVoice and diplomacy experts. MKs from Labor, Meretz and Shas are co-sponsoring it.

Annexing the Jordan Valley would “sabotage Israel in the diplomatic negotiations, harm the efforts of the prime minister to come to a two-state solution, deepen the rift that already exists between us and the US , and permanently destroy the chances for the two-state solution, which is the only solution that will guarantee Israel’s future as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state,” the Labor Party said in a written statement.

Bar, chairman of the Knesset Caucus to Resolve the Arab-Israeli Conflict, said the bill would determine “once and for all” whether the coalition parties were for or against the two-state solution. The bill’s aim is to “encourage” the government and the Palestinian leadership to come to a resolution to the conflict, but only in the framework of a two-state solution, Bar said.

“Any other solution would be devastating to the future, security and status of Israel and of the Palestinians,” he said.

“Unilateral annexation of territory by Israel would constitute, as is well-known, a death knell for the negotiations and to our efforts to make peace in the framework of a two state solution.”

He harshly attacked the coalition factions, saying that “there seems to be some sort of competition as to who can damage more Israel and the prime minister’s efforts to achieve peace and to navigate their way through these negotiations.”

Control of the valley has been a sticking point in the negotiations with the PLO .

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that for security reasons, Israel must maintain a military presence there.

Regev’s bill proposing to annex the Jordan Valley received a lot of support from the Right, and drew condemnation and criticism from the Left and from the Palestinians.

Likud coalition partners Hatnua and Yesh Atid appealed the vote in the ministerial committee, preventing it from advancing any time soon.

Sources close to chief negotiator Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that “any bill proposal, whether from the Left or the Right, that is meant to bind the government’s hands or restrict its authority to make diplomatic decisions, will grant the proposing MK headlines for one day, but will not receive the government’s support.”

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
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