Netanyahu and Bennett.
(photo credit: REUTERS,MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised on Monday to pass the controversial Jerusalem bill after boasting about his success in having Guatemala become the second country after the US to announce it will move its embassy to Jerusalem.
At a Likud faction meeting, Netanyahu called the bill “important legislation” that would put a massive political obstacle before any Israeli leader seeking to concede parts of Jerusalem in a diplomatic agreement. The legislation, an amendment to Basic Law: Jerusalem, would raise the number of MKs needed to give up Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem to 80, or two-thirds of the Knesset.
The prime minister also made a promise to pass the bill in a conversation with Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, whose faction sponsored the bill. Bennett told the faction on Monday that the bill would pass into law next week.
“The bill will be raised and will pass, because this is why we’re here,” Bennett said. “The Gaza disengagement and Oslo process passed with a lot less than 80 MKs, so this bill could have prevented those decisions.”
Asked what would happen if the Americans demand the vote be postponed, Bennett said he did not expect that to happen, citing an environment of countries announcing they are moving their embassies to Israel’s capital.
Just like the Likud was demanding the passage of the police recommendations bill, Bennett said, this legislation was his party’s top legislative priority.
“We respect the bill that the prime minister wants most, but we think the Jerusalem bill is a thousand times more important,” he said.
The bill would not preclude the government from making predominately Arab areas of Jerusalem into a new municipality and giving them up in negotiations. But doing so would be subject to a referendum in accordance with a different Basic Law.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report