Labor Party MK Hilik Bar 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
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
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
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
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,
“Any other solution would be devastating to the future,
security and status of Israel and of the Palestinians,” he
“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 .
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.
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
Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.