Israel Amendment Guarantees Control Over All Jerusalem

Two-Thirds of Knesset Would Have to Approve Any Changes to Border

Aiming to preclude any future peace deals that would involve ceding any parts of greater Jerusalem, the Israeli government has passed an amendment which would require a two-thirds majority to agree to such a transfer, instead of the simple majority currently required.

Israel’s deeply divided political system makes getting 61 votes in favor of a peace deal a challenge, but raising that to 80 votes would make it effectively impossible, requiring right-wing parties to retain only a third of parliament to block a deal.

Under international law, much of Jerusalem as defined by the Israeli government is occupied territory, though Israel itself insists that it’s all been annexed permanently. The presentation of Jerusalem as “eternally unified” has been abused, as some Israeli officials have sought to redefine “Jerusalem” deeper and deeper into the West Bank, seizing more occupied territory.

The timing of the move to require a larger voting threshold is strange, but is likely related to President Trump’s endorsement of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and subsequent claims that the city is “off the table” in peace talks, which may have given Israeli officials the impression they can act without fear of a rebuke from the US.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of