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Bill to Tie PM's Hands in Talks on Jerusalem, Refugees

MK Miri Regev (Likud-Beytenu) proposes that negotiations on core issues will only be carried out with Knesset approval.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/7/2014, 11:58 AM

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MK Miri Regev (Likud-Beytenu) plans to submit a bill that would throw a spanner in the works of any future negotiations on the future of Jerusalem, and on letting “Palestinian refugees” into Israel as part of a peace deal.

According to Yediot Aharonot, Regev will formally submit the law on Sunday, to the Ministerial Committee on Legislation, whose role it is to decide what bills will enjoy the Coalition's support in the Knesset plenum.

The bill would forbid the prime minister from carrying out diplomatic negotiations on the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, or on the so-called “refugee issue,” unless the Knesset gives him permission to do so ahead of time.

"Negotiations on these issues, which begin without Knesset approval, will not be binding,” the bill states. “In such a case, its results will not be binding on any governmental body, nor will it or its results have any validity vis-a-vis the state of Israel, the government of Israel, or other governmental authorities of the state of Israel.”

The bill is based on a similar one that was prepared by Communications Minister Gilad Erdan in the previous Knesset, but was never presented to the plenum.

"The aim is to bring about a situation in which no diplomatic negotiations are carried out regarding extreme concessions that undermine the state of Israel's Jewish identity and widen the rift within Israeli society, unless the negotiations are approved by a majority of the members of the Knesset,” Regev explained. "Such an act would be unacceptable, anti-democratic, and according to this bill, illegal as well – so that if negotiations are carried out without the Knesset's approval, they will not have any validity.”

This is not the first move by Regev to counter what many Israelis see as attempts by the US to force a deal on the Jewish state that would circumvent the Knesset.

Just last week, the cabinet approved a bill tabled by Regev calling for the annexation of the Jordan Valley region in eastern Samaria. The move would preclude US pressure to give up the area, which the government has maintained is crucial to protecting Israel's eastern border, and drew harsh criticism from politicians on the Left, including President Shimon Peres and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who promised to appeal the law and prevnt its implementation