Israel raises Jerusalem vote threshold

Strife over Jerusalem

Israel's parliament passed an amendment on Tuesday that will make it more hard for the government to cede parts of East Jerusalem in any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Sixty-four MKs voted in favor of the bill, 51 voted against and one abstained, despite the fact that the vast majority of Israeli Jews (including members of Knesset) insist that Jerusalem must never again be divided. The Palestinians condemned that decision and accused Trump of emboldening the Likud party.

On Sunday, Mr Netanyahu's Likud party unanimously urged legislators in a non-binding resolution to effectively annex Israeli settlements built in the West Bank.

The law was criticized by the opposition as a serious blow to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Swamy welcomed Trump's statement remarking that the latter presented facts in his accusation about receiving nothing in return from Pakistan for the aid provided to them.

However, the new law is not necessarily definitive.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. Israel annexed East Jerusalem shortly after the war, claiming it part of its "indivisible capital", in a move never recognized by the worldwide community.

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Israel sees the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians want the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

"The authority to relinquish parts of the land is not in the hands of any Jew, nor of the Jewish people", said Naftali Bennett, head of the far-right Jewish Home coalition party, which sponsored the legislation.

"The Mount of Olives, the Old City. will forever remain ours", he wrote on Twitter.

Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs the Gaza Strip, said Abbas should declare the end of the Oslo peace accords of the 1990s and withdraw the PLO's recognition of Israel.

Trump infuriated many when he announced late a year ago that the US would consider Jerusalem the capital of Israel and move its embassy there.

It has led to deep anger among Palestinians, with Abbas saying the United States can no longer play any role in the Middle East peace process.

Abbas also asserted that the Likud body would not have conducted the vote on annexing settlements, if it did not have "the absolute backing of the American administration that has refused to condemn Israeli colonial settlements".

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