The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) strongly praised and supports the passage in the Knesset in Jerusalem of a new Israeli Bill that requires a special two-thirds majority vote in the Knesset to approve relinquishing any part of Jerusalem in negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs under any future peace negotiation.
The Law, which is supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s governing coalition, is designed to help prevent the Jewish city’s division and to ensure that, in any peace agreement in which Israel would make concessions on Jerusalem, such concessions enjoy the overwhelming support of the Israeli electorate. Accordingly, a decision to relinquish any part of Jerusalem to non-Israeli control will now require the support of at least 80 of the Knesset’s 120 Members (‘In late-night vote, Knesset passes law to hinder East Jerusalem withdrawal,’ Times of Israel.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA strongly praises and supports the passage of the new law on Jerusalem requiring a two-thirds Knesset majority for any future concessions that might be negotiated with the Palestinian Arabs involving Jerusalem. “This is the right move. The new Law now ensures, that should the question of concessions on Jerusalem ever arise, a genuine national consensus, not just a simple majority, would be required to approve such concessions.
“As everyone knows, parliamentary majorities come and go. Sometimes, especially in the Israeli experience, governments have held office or had laws approved by the narrowest of Knesset majorities, majorities that disappear in the next elections.
“It is wrong that profound, momentous decisions affecting peace, national security and the eternal capital of Israel and the Jewish people, should be governed by the shifting winds of coalition politics and the vagaries of elections.
“It is quite normal in free societies that certain profound legislative changes require more than a simple parliamentary majority to ensure that certain possible decisions are not taken lightly, or enabled simply through political horse-trading of coalition politics.
“Certain issues are profound, of timeless importance and must not be vulnerable to the shifting winds of politics. One way in which this can be ensured is to require a two-thirds majority vote, as in the new Jerusalem law. To obtain an 80-vote majority, the plan under consideration would have to be sound and enjoy a genuinely bipartisan support.
“The ZOA recalls how something momentous, like the 1995 Oslo II agreement, in which Israel transferred authority and security over major population centers in Judea/Samaria to the Palestinian Authority (PA), was approved by the narrowest possible majority vote of 61 to 59 in the Knesset.
“The outcome of this was not only the strengthening of a PA regime that a few years later, in 2000, launched a terror war on Israelis, slaughtering over 1,500 Israeli civilians and wounding and maiming many thousands more, but great seething political division in Israel.
“It is deeply problematic to make momentous choices affecting the lives and future of the entire citizenry of a country by a single vote.
“It is also hard to maintain national unity where extremely narrow parliamentary votes determine truly profound issues. This Law ensures that such a situation will not arise with respect to Jerusalem.
“Israeli national unity is vital; this legislation helps to preserve it in the future.”