A girl holds an Israeli flag on a hilltop near the Maaleh Adumim settlement.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein threw his support behind a bill to annex Ma'aleh Adumim Monday.
Knesset Land of Israel Caucus chairman Yoav Kisch (Likud) and Bezalel Smotrich (Bayit Yehudi) held a ceremonial meeting in honor of their new bill, with Edelstein, ministers, mayors and other dignitaries taking part.
The annexation bill was signed by MKs from all of the coalition's parties.
Edelstein said that Israel's "hesitation" in asserting sovereignty has kept peace away over the years.
"It's important that we are reversing the trend," he said. "The move we are making today will win. We will take the long path towards passing the law together, and will succeed."
Many of the speakers at the ceremony cited a poll commissioned by the caucus in May showing that 78% of Israeli Jews support annexing Ma'aleh Adumim.
Edelstein explained that Ma'aleh Adumim should be the first place that is annexed because it is the "consensus."
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Kisch said the poll shows that only "extremists" oppose annexation, and that he is submitting the bill despite pressure not to.
"We will stand at the gate of the city that is meant to protect the eastern gate of our capital, Jerusalem," Kisch said. "Let there be no doubt: This is the opening of a battle for Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria."
Smotrich said: "Whoever wants to live in peace and coexistence must abandon the solution of dividing the land and move to uniting it, and we are starting with Ma'aleh Adumim."
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said it is important to make clear to the world and the Israeli population that Ma'aleh Adumim must be developed and expressed hope the bill will pass.
Ma'aleh Adumim Mayor Benny Cashriel said the time has come for Ma'aleh Adumim to be considered part of sovereign Israel and its housing market, allowing young couples to live in Greater Jerusalem.
Cashriel also cited various left-wing politicians - former prime ministers Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak and former minister Yossi Beilin - as saying the city would be part of Israel in the terms of any peace agreement.
"We can't always fear what the world will say. This is the land of our fathers. History proves that," Cashriel said
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